The sensory experiences of food consumption

Authored by: Erica Rowan

The Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138676299
eBook ISBN: 9781315560175
Adobe ISBN:


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All aspects of food production, preparation and consumption are individualized and socialized sensory experiences. This chapter focuses primarily on the sensory experience of food consumption, examining the biological and cultural frameworks that allow archaeologists to explore this quotidian yet vital aspect of human life. Following a summary of the current state of research, the remainder of the chapter is dedicated to a case study from the Roman period, focusing on the sensory events experienced by wealthy and non-wealthy diners in Pompeii. The results show that wealthy Romans intentionally created an entirely different sensory experience for themselves at private dinner parties to maintain and reinforce social stratification.

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