Food and feasting are increasingly recognized as having played a prominent role in the emergence of social hierarchies and the negotiation of power. Given the culinary nature of feasts, the archaeological visibility of such events is increased by the use of containers for both food preparation and consumption. The papers in this volume examine the commensal politics of early states and empires and offer a comparative perspective on how food and feasting have figured in the political calculus of archaic states in both the Old and New Worlds.
The contributors provide important new insights into the strategies of early statecraft and the role of pots as political tools by focusing on questions such as:
-What was the nature of the relationship between food, power, status, and identity in the context of early states?
-Was feasting a universally important element in the construction of state power?
-How do archaeologically discernible patterns of state feasting compare cross-culturally and through time?