SESSION 5

INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO ANCIENT ROMAN DIETS

Organised by: Ricardo Fernandes and Roksana Chowaniec

Ancient Roman diets have been predominantly investigated relying on information from iconographic and written sources. While these data sources have provided important insights, they also present some limitations and may result in a biased perspective of past dietary patterns. Often historical data pertains mostly to the dietary habits of the upper classes and may include disproportionate references to imported exotic foodstuffs. Furthermore, the relatively limited historical evidence offers only temporally and geographically localized snapshots while a great diversity in dietary habits throughout the extension and duration of the Roman world may be expected. These limitations may be overcome by combining data from historical sources with data obtained from the analysis of material remains using different archaeometric methods. These methods have been applied with great success in the reconstruction of past dietary and culinary habits of diverse historic and pre-historic populations although their use within archaeological research of the Roman world remains comparatively limited. The aim of this session is to promote interdisciplinary approaches to the study of ancient Roman diets. Welcomed contributions are those that combine dietary information obtained from diverse sources including: historical and archaeological, ancient DNA analysis, isotope studies, archaeozoological and archaeobotanical studies, physical anthropology, and pottery residue analysis. The adoption of interdisciplinary approaches to investigate Roman dietary patterns should serve to address relevant archaeological research questions. These include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

a.      Potential relationships between access to certain foodstuffs and forms of social or economic differentiation (e.g. gender, profession, class, ethnicity).

b.      Impact of cultural norms in dietary choices.

c.       Framing dietary patterns within the local environmental context and available food resources in settlement hinterland areas.

d.      Relationships between nutrition and health.

e.      Food trade: variety, extension, and intensity.

f.        Identifying diachronic patterns in regional dietary habits and observing possible links with socio-political trajectories.

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Human-Chicken Interactions: Contextualising Britain in the Wider Roman World, Mark Maltby, Julia Best and Mike FeideR

Investigating ‘lifeways’ in Imperial Roman Italy: an integrated bioarchaeological approach, Oliver Craig, Luca Bondioli and Peter Garnsey

Latrine rumours from Augusta Raurica – Roman toilets as a source of information about diet and health, Sabine Deschler-Erb, Örni Akeret, Heide Hüster Plogmann, Christine Pümpin,

Finding Millet in the Ancient World, Charlene Murphy

Cereals and Pulses in Roman diet and nutrition: a biochemical approach, Frits Heinrich and Annette Hansen

Animal consumption, social inequality, and economic change in a non-elite area of Pompeii, Emily Holt

Reconstructing ancient diet through archaeological resources: Agriculture in Switzerland from 800 B.C.E. to 754 C.E., Ryan E. Hughes

Celsus’ therapeutic galactology (γαλακτολογία ἰατρική), Maciej Kokoszko

Bread and Barley: The relationship between staple foods, nutrition and health in the Roman world, Erica Rowan

From the mouths of babes: subadult diet in Roman London, Rebecca Redfern, Rebecca Gowland and Lindsay Powell

Dietary diversity across the Roman world: outcome from a Bayesian meta-analysis, Ricardo Fernandes

Meat or fish? Exploring consumption patterns in the peripheral town of Acrae (Sicily), Roksana Chowaniec, Anna Gręzak