The Archaeology and Politics of Food and Feasting in Early States and Empires / Edition 1

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Food and feasting are increasingly recognized as having played a prominent role in the emergence of social hierarchies and the negotiation of power relation. Given the culinary nature of feasts, the archaeological visibility of such events is increased by the use of containers for both food preparation and consumption. This volume presents the utilization of culinary equipment as a window into the commensal politics of early states and empires and offers a comparative perspective on how food and feasting may have figured in the political calculus of archaic states in both the Old and New Worlds. The contributors provide important new insights into the strategies of early statecraft and the role of pots as political tools and include insight into queries such as: How did food and feasting figure in the politics of early states and empires around the world? Was feasting a universally important element in the construction of state power? How do archaeologically discernible patterns of state feasting compare cross-culturally and through time? Did state elite typically seek to create recognizable social boundaries through the use of expensive foods, special culinary equipment or distinctive cuisines, or was food and feasting equipment used rather to obfuscate privilege and bind state subjects in (asymmetrical) relations of reciprocity? This volume provides an in-depth analysis for scholars and graduate students concerned with the archaeology of complex societies, the anthropology of food and feasting, ancient statecraft, archaeological approaches to micro-political processes, and the social interpretation of prehistoric pottery for in these areas.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306477713
  • Publisher: Springer US
  • Publication date: 7/31/2003
  • Edition description: 2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Commensal Politics of Early States and Empires 1
Ch. 2 Feasts, Funerals, and Fast Food in Early Mesopotamian States 17
Ch. 3 Pharaohs, Feasts, and Foreigners: Cooking, Foodways, and Agency on Ancient Egypt's Southern Frontier 39
Ch. 4 Feasting the Ancestors in Early China 65
Ch. 5 To Dine Splendidly: Imperial Pottery, Commensal Politics, and the Inca State 93
Ch. 6 From Stew-Eaters to Maize-Drinkers: The Chicha Economy and the Tiwanaku Expansion 143
Ch. 7 Pots, Politics, and Power: Huari Ceramic Assemblages and Imperial Administration 173
Ch. 8 Feasting at Home: Community and House Solidarity among the Maya of Southeastern Mesoamerica 203
Ch. 9 Aztec Feasts, Rituals, and Markets: Political Uses of Ceramic Vessels in a Commercial Economy 235
Ch. 10 Clearing the Table: Some Concluding Reflections on Commensal Politics and Imperial States 271
Feasting and the Practice of Stately Manners 285
Index 289
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