New special issue in the Journal of Indo-Pacific Archaeology is out! Check out the table of contents and abstracts here.
Volume 37: Food and Foodways in Indo-Pacific Archaeology
Beyond Subsistence: Food and Foodways in Indo-Pacific Archaeology by Michelle S. Eusebio and Amy Jordan
“Please Pass the Salt” – An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Salt and Salt Fermented Fish Production, Use and Trade in Northeast Thailand by Andrea Yankowski, Puangtip Kerdsap and Nigel Chang
Northeast Thailand is known for salt production, both today and in the past. Prehistoric salt sites are found throughout the region and ethnographic and historical data demonstrates the importance of salt as a commodity as well as for preserving and fermenting fish. This paper explores the archaeology and cultural history of salt and salt fermented fish products in Northeast Thailand and the Greater Mekong Delta region. Using archaeological, historical and ethnographic data, it addresses how the foods we eat and our preparation methods can be deeply rooted in our cultural history and identity, and discusses the ways in which they can be studied in the archaeological record to learn about the past.
Foodways Through Ceramics in Southeast Asian Archaeology: A View from Southern Vietnam by Michelle S. Eusebio
Food related research in Southeast Asian archaeology is heavily biased towards the assessment of subsistence strategies as well as typological and petrographic analyses of ceramics. Little is known about the range of diverse food items, how they were prepared and consumed, and the importance these foods played in the social lives of people in the past. My research seeks to extend the treatment of food in Southeast Asia archaeology from subsistence “strategies” to foodways by incorporating technofunctional and organic residue analyses of earthenware pottery vessels to address outstanding questions about their function with regard to the preparation and consumption of food. This paper presents preliminary findings on a range of prehistoric earthenware pottery excavated from Rạch Núi, An Sơn (Neolithic), and Gò Ô Chùa (Metal Age) sites in Long An Province, Southern Vietnam. Results are compared with similar data from experimental and ethnographic pottery as well as integrated with complementary data associated with the archaeological pottery samples. It is predicted that integrative analysis of technofunctional aspects of earthenware pottery with organic residue analysis will provide new perspectives on the foodways in Southern Vietnam during the Neolithic and Metal Age.
What Did They Cook? A Preliminary Investigation into Culinary Practices and Pottery Use in the Central Part of the Korean Peninsula During the Mid to Late Holocene by Seungki Kwak and Ben Marwick
This study attempts to understand prehistoric human subsistence in Korean peninsula through the preliminary initiation of organic geochemical analyses on potsherds. While traditional approaches focus on reconstructing the ancient pot function or relative chronology, organic geochemical analyses on archaeological potteries endeavors to be precise about the types of food groups that were cooked or stored in a pot by attempting to identify the specific organic compounds trapped in the clay matrix. Since organic compounds are often preserved in direct association with archaeological pots, organic geochemical analyses have become an important method of investigation which archaeologists use to better understand the function of ceramic artifacts such as pottery and local diets. The sherd samples for the analyses in this paper were collected from the two prehistoric habitation sites located in the central part of the Korean peninsula: Kimpo-Yangchon site and Eupha-ri site. The main habitation period of the former is around 2800 BP (B. Kim et al. 2013), and the latter site was occupied around 1900 BP (H. Wang et al. 2013). We show that terrestrial animals are strongly represented in the organic residues, suggesting that views of a crop-dominated diet might need revision. Our results provide a critical clue to understand ancient subsistence of the central part of the Korean peninsula.
Spice Island Stew: Creolization of Foodways on Colonial Era Nutmeg Plantations, Maluku Province, Indonesia by Amy Jordan
The Banda Islands, in modern Indonesia’s Maluku Province, were the world’s sole source of nutmeg in the 16th Century. Control over the spice trade was a major goal for European powers. Consequently, the Banda Islands were a location of early disputes and colonial experimentation. After eradicating most of the indigenous population, the Dutch East India Company established a plantation system in 1621 on the islands. The plantation system fundamentally altered the lifeways of all inhabitants of the Banda Islands but there is little evidence regarding how the alterations and adaptations occurred or why. Excavations at three nutmeg plantations reveal that the inhabitants engaged with multiple strategies of both subsistence and trade. By examining multiple lines of evidence including ceramic, faunal, and starch grain analysis, a more comprehensive understanding of social adaptations to colonialism can be demonstrated.
Pre-Contact Foodways in the Mariana Islands by Darlene R. Moore
Recent archaeological technical reports and publications and the historic literature contain considerable information about the subsistence of the people of the Mariana Islands prior to and shortly after European Contact in 1521. Drawing from these resources, I compile a more complete understanding of the diet and food-related behaviors prior to Contact.
Stay tuned for two more special issues that are scheduled to be out later this year in JIPA! These include Volume 36: Uses of the Past in Contemporary Asia and Volume 38: Cultural Resource Management.