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Celtic and Roman food and feasting practices: A multiproxy study across Europe and Britain
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies, Environmental Archaeology Lab.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This research investigates common food and feasting practices in both Celtic/Iron Age and Roman Europe and Britain. It is based on previous studies that employ a variety of materials and methods to study issues such as diet, feasting, and luxury/exotic foods. Materials involved in this study include archaeobotanical assemblages, ceramic assemblages, historical texts and records, and skeletal materials used for stable isotope analysis, assessment of dental health, and osteological analysis. The results of previous studies were then assessed for evidence of the following: common diet and food practices amongst both Celtic and Roman cultures; luxury or exotic foods consumed at feasts; communal consumption at feasting events; and possible sociopolitical motivations or effects of such events. The results demonstrated that although exotic, imported plant foods were present in both Celtic and Roman feasting contexts, luxury foods in Celtic feasts were more often likely represented by an abundance of staple foods rather than imported foods, though alcoholic drinks, particularly wine, was the exception. While Celtic feasts and exotic foods were apparently used as venues for maintaining or changing power and political relations, in Roman Europe feasts and foods were more so means of expressing, maintaining, or even changing social class, thus representing a shift from communal to individual elite dining from the Iron Age to the Roman period in Europe and Britain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 48 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-94637OAI: diva2:756180
Subject / course
Educational program
Master's Programme in Environmental Archaeology
Available from: 2014-10-20 Created: 2014-10-14 Last updated: 2014-10-20Bibliographically approved

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