Colonialism, Dining, and Changing Strategies of Power: the Example of Iron Age and Roman Mediterranean France at Lattara (ca 150 bc–ad 50)
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- Luley, B.P. J Archaeol Method Theory (2014) 21: 750. doi:10.1007/s10816-013-9174-7
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The establishment of colonial rule by one society over another, both in ancient and modern examples, often has dramatic consequences for the establishment and maintenance of political relationships within the context of everyday life in colonial society. In this article, I examine the ways in which the performative acts of dining can play an integral role in this reconstruction of political relationships that is so often implicit in colonial encounters and state expansion. In particular, I suggest that an analysis of the ceramic evidence of vessels used in dining and the frequency of specific forms in the overall assemblages can help to reveal the ways in which the politics of commensality play an active role in transforming political relationships and strategies of power in colonial societies. This article uses the example of ancient Mediterranean France after the Roman conquest in the late second century bc at the Celtic-speaking settlement of Lattara (modern Lattes). I argue that by the end of the first century bc, coinciding with a time period when the political structure of the region was being significantly reorganized, there was a notable change in dining practices, with a move away from a more communal ethos in dining to one emphasizing the individual. These new practices served the strategic interests of individuals in local society at Lattara seeking to break with earlier political systems and integrate themselves into larger colonial society.