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Food is a huge area of people's daily life. The daily act of eating is an identity vector: "Tell me what you eat, I will tell you who you are" wrote Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in his Physiology of taste. The question of taste and food is a booming field of investigation which benefits from recent contributions from many disciplines. The number of Archeology files titled " Taste and food in antiquity »And coordinated by Arianna Esposito attempts to tackle this question with the help of short summaries but also well-documented local studies.
After an introduction which presents the problematic of the dossier and the recent contributions on the question due to the development of essential archaeosciences today (archaeobotany and archaeozoology among others) and a welcome glossary, a series of articles is devoted to sacrifices. The first contribution by Sandrine Huber and William van Andringa presents the archeology of sacrifice and the banquets organized in the sanctuaries. From this article, the contributions of these studies are mentioned for a better understanding of cultural diffusion, mobility or acculturation in Antiquity. The following two articles extend this panorama with the analysis of the Greek hecatombs and of a closing ceremony of the Sanctuary of Cumae during the second half of the 4th century BC. Domestic culinary practices are then discussed in the second part of the dossier in all their diversity.
Everything that may affect the arts of the domestic table is discussed in this section. It begins with three articles on ancient crockery in Iberia and Gaul. Through these studies, we address taste, regional specificities and changes in practices. The article “Cooking in the Lugdunum colony, A taste of Rome” by Cécile Batigne Vallet is very successful in this regard. The following text is devoted to dietary practices in southern Italy and Sicily and illustrates, if need be, the importance of the consumption of seafood in this region. Another interesting contribution from Anne Flouest is devoted to Gallic cuisine and is widely illustrated by photographs of reconstructions of the Bibracte site and in particular of the Chaudron de Bibracte, the site's restaurant which offers visitors the chance to discover Gallic gastronomy. After two articles on the making of bread in Roman Italy and on archaeozoology, come four more on meat nutrition (its production, distribution and consumption), two of which are devoted to the Lattara site. Finally, the dossier concludes with two last contributions on wine production in Roman times and in particular, once again, on the Lattara site. At the end of this issue, we find the traditional news of discoveries, exhibitions and publications.
The articles are always very richly illustrated and the bibliography allows to deepen many aspects of food practices. The subject dealt with in this issue allows the reader to have some notions on the research and the stammering and growing issues. The diversity of the articles makes the richness of this archeology file. In the end, this archeology file provides a good overview of tableware in Antiquity.
Taste and food in antiquity. Archeology files, March-April 2014.