Exploring Culinary Practices Through GIS Modeling at Joya de Cerén, El Salvador

  • Alan Farahani
  • Katherine L. Chiou
  • Rob Q. Cuthrell
  • Anna Harkey
  • Shanti Morell-Hart
  • Christine A. Hastorf
  • Payson D. Sheets
Chapter

Abstract

Spatial analyses at the resolution of an archaeological site are usually complicated by the fact that objects and organic remains uncovered through excavation are often not found in their original location of manufacture, use, or even discard. As a result, fine-grained analyses of context-dependent culinary practices and foodways, which rely on the conjunction of both forms of evidence, may be less easily interpretable. The creation of a GIS-based spatial database, however, at the site of Joya de Cerén, El Salvador, permits just such insights into food preparation and consumption due to the sudden and catastrophic circumstances of the preservation of the site. Preliminary spatial analyses of the distributions of in situ ceramic vessels, food-processing implements (manos, metates), and paleoethnobotanical remains, confirm and elaborate upon the observations of the original excavators, including the identification of new potential activity areas within “storage” structures and possible “culinary sets” of vessels, food processing implements, and plants associated with repeated tasks in delimited areas, here labeled as “taskscapes”. The results of this study encourage further digitization of both legacy and recently uncovered archaeological data in spatial databases to continue to explore such relationships.

Keywords

Mesoamerica Spatial analysis GIS Culinary practices Foodways 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Farahani
    • 1
  • Katherine L. Chiou
    • 2
  • Rob Q. Cuthrell
    • 3
  • Anna Harkey
    • 4
  • Shanti Morell-Hart
    • 5
  • Christine A. Hastorf
    • 6
  • Payson D. Sheets
    • 7
  1. 1.Cotsen Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Archaeological Research FacilityUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyWofford CollegeSpartanburgUSA
  5. 5.Department of AnthropologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  6. 6.Department of Anthropology and Archaeological Research FacilityUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  7. 7.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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