Gastronomical Archaeology

Food, Mealtimes, and the Materiality Aesthetics of Dining


Mary Beaudry


Inspired by recent efforts to develop archaeologies of sensory experience and sentiment, I explore a method for interpreting archaeological remains that informs on emotions and the senses in relation to materials, materiality, and dining. A key element of this approach involves trying to understand how people engaged with material culture in self-construction in order to achieve various projects in the practice of everyday life and on analyzing suites of objects and materials used together (‘assemblages of practice’) to accomplish such projects. My current research draws together converging lines of evidence—surviving material culture, documentary and pictorial evidence, and excavated remains related to cookery and dining—to develop a gastronomical archaeology that considers practices around dining and addresses the materiality and sensorality of past meals and mealtimes.