Plant foods, stone tools and food preparation in prehistoric Europe: an integrative approach in the context of ERC funded project PLANTCULT

  • Soultana Maria Valamoti LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki
  • Danai Chondrou LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki
  • Tasos Bekiaris LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki
  • Ismini Ninou LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki
  • Natalia Alonso Universitat de Lleida
  • Maria Bofill LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki
  • Maria Ivanova Universität Heidelberg
  • Sofia Laparidou LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki
  • Calla McNamee The American School of Classical Studies at Athens
  • Antoni Palomo Museu d' Arqueologia de Catalunya
  • Lambrini Papadopoulou Department of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • Georgina Prats LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki
  • Hara Procopiou University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Georgia Tsartsidou Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology-Speleology
Keywords: food identities; plant food processing; prehistoric grinding and pounding tools

Abstract


The transformation of food ingredients into meals corresponds to complex choices resulting from the interplay of environmental and cultural factors: available ingredients, technologies of transformation, cultural perceptions of food, as well as taste and food taboos. Project PLANTCULT (ERC Consolidator Grant, GA 682529) aims to investigate prehistoric culinary cultures from the Aegean to Central Europe by focusing on plant foods and associated food preparation technologies spanning the Neolithic through to the Iron Age. Our paper offers an overview of the lines of investigation pursued within the project to address plant food preparation and related stone tool technologies. The wide range of plant foods from the area under investigation (ground cereals, breads, beer, pressed grapes, split pulses, etc.) suggests great variability of culinary preparations. Yet, little is known of the transformation technologies involved (e.g., pounding, grinding, and boiling). Changes in size and shape of grinding stones over time have been associated with efficiency of grinding, specific culinary practices and socioeconomic organisation. Informed by ethnography and experimental data, as well as ancient texts, PLANTCULT integrates archaeobotanical food remains and associated equipment to address these issues. We utilize a multifaceted approach including the study of both published archaeological data and original assemblages from key sites. We aim to develop methods for understanding the interaction of tool type, use-wear formation and associated plant micro- and macro- remains in the archaeological record. Our experimental program aims to generate (a) reference material for the identification of plant processing in the archaeological record and (b) ingredients for the preparation of experimental plant foods, which hold a key role to unlocking the recipes of prehistory. Plant processing technologies are thus investigated across space and through time, in an attempt to explore the dynamic role of culinary transformation of plant ingredients into shaping social and cultural identities in prehistoric Europe.

Author Biographies

Soultana Maria Valamoti, LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki

LIRA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124
Thessaloniki
Greece
Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CIRI‑AUTH), Balkan Center, Buildings A & B
Thessaloniki, 10th km , Thessaloniki-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 8318, 57001
Thessaloniki
Greece

Danai Chondrou, LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki

LIRA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124
Thessaloniki
Greece
Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CIRI‑AUTH), Balkan Center, Buildings A & B
Thessaloniki, 10th km , Thessaloniki-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 8318, 57001
Thessaloniki
Greece

Tasos Bekiaris, LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki

LIRA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124
Thessaloniki
Greece
Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CIRI‑AUTH), Balkan Center, Buildings A & B
Thessaloniki, 10th km , Thessaloniki-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 8318, 57001
Thessaloniki
Greece

Ismini Ninou, LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki

LIRA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124
Thessaloniki
Greece
Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CIRI‑AUTH), Balkan Center, Buildings A & B
Thessaloniki, 10th km , Thessaloniki-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 8318, 57001
Thessaloniki
Greece

Natalia Alonso, Universitat de Lleida

GIP, Departament d'Història, Fac. de Lletres, INDEST (HAR2016-78277-R)
Universitat de Lleida, Pl. Víctor Siurana, 1, 25003
Lleida, Catalonia
Spain

Maria Bofill, LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki

LIRA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124
Thessaloniki
Greece
Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CIRI‑AUTH), Balkan Center, Buildings A & B
Thessaloniki, 10th km , Thessaloniki-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 8318, 57001
Thessaloniki
Greece

Maria Ivanova, Universität Heidelberg

Institut für Ur-und Frühgeschichte und Vorderasiatische Archäologie
Universität Heidelberg, Sandgasse 7, 69117
Heidelberg
Germany

Sofia Laparidou, LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki

LIRA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124
Thessaloniki
Greece
Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CIRI‑AUTH), Balkan Center, Buildings A & B
Thessaloniki, 10th km , Thessaloniki-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 8318, 57001
Thessaloniki
Greece

Calla McNamee, The American School of Classical Studies at Athens

The Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 54 Souidias Street, 106 76
Athens
Greece

Antoni Palomo, Museu d' Arqueologia de Catalunya

Museu d' Arqueologia de Catalunya, Curator of prehistory collections, ACdPC
Dpt. de Cultura, Generalitat de Catalunya, Passeig de Santa Madrona 39-41, 080838
Barcelona
Spain

Lambrini Papadopoulou, Department of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Department of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
54124 Thessaloniki
Greece

Georgina Prats, LIRA Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation, Thessaloniki

LIRA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124
Thessaloniki
Greece
Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CIRI‑AUTH), Balkan Center, Buildings A & B
Thessaloniki, 10th km , Thessaloniki-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 8318, 57001
Thessaloniki
Greece

Hara Procopiou, University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne

Department of Archaeology, University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne
Centre Michelet, 318, 3 rue Michelet 75006
Paris
France

Georgia Tsartsidou, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology-Speleology

Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology-Speleology
Ardittou 34 B, 11636,
Athens
Greece

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Published
15-Dec-2020
How to Cite
Valamoti, S., Chondrou, D., Bekiaris, T., Ninou, I., Alonso, N., Bofill, M., Ivanova, M., Laparidou, S., McNamee, C., Palomo, A., Papadopoulou, L., Prats, G., Procopiou, H., & Tsartsidou, G. (2020). Plant foods, stone tools and food preparation in prehistoric Europe: an integrative approach in the context of ERC funded project PLANTCULT. Journal of Lithic Studies, 7(3), 21 p. Retrieved from http://journals.ed.ac.uk/lithicstudies/article/view/3095
Section
Articles from the 2nd Meeting of the Association for Ground Stone Tools Research