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Food for Change: Daily Practices and the Development of a Shared Food Habitus During the Early Bronze Age in the Southern Levant

thesis
posted on 2023-07-14, 00:00 authored by Hanna Erftenbeck

This dissertation explores daily food practices in walled settlements in the southern Levant (modern day Jordan, Israel, Palestine, southern Syria, and southern Lebanon) during the Early Bronze Age IB–III (EB IB–III, c. 3300­–2500 BCE). The research is situated within the debate of the nature of EB lifeways and community organization. Not all EB communities consistently fulfill the anthropological criteria of a truly urban phenomenon, evident in the lack of ubiquitous elite presence and evidence for hierarchization, as well as the small size of some walled communities and prevailing rural lifeways within these towns. This study focuses on the material and immaterial aspects of household-based food practices during the EB, employing archaeological records to shed light on shared and divergent practices among settlements of varying size, location, and levels of socio-economic differentiation. The three articles presented in this dissertation explore daily food practices, particularly their connection to the staple-goods economy and the emergence of a shared food habitus. Archaeobotanical analysis of remains from eleven fortified settlements reveals that communities throughout the southern Levant cultivated and consumed a consistent range of plants, indicating the existence of inter-community networks that facilitated the sharing of goods and ideas, aiding the development of a shared food habitus. A review of residential units from six different EB sites shows that as part of the emerging EB food habitus there was a shared understanding of what features, tools, and installations an EB kitchen should contain. The analysis of food serving and storage vessels from Numayra and Tall al-Handaquq South sheds light on food practices towards the end of the EB III period when most walled settlements were abandoned. The findings suggest that food practices played a foundational role in EB communities, closely intertwined with their social, economic, and political organization. This research emphasizes a ground-up approach, highlighting the significance of daily actions and decisions in shaping community organization during the EB in the southern Levant.

History

Date Modified

2023-07-27

Defense Date

2023-06-23

CIP Code

  • 45.0201

Research Director(s)

Meredith S. Chesson

Degree

  • Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Level

  • Doctoral Dissertation

Alternate Identifier

1391145009

OCLC Number

1391145009

Program Name

  • Anthropology

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