The Neolithic “culinary package” of grain crops, bovids and pigs, domed clay ovens, grinding stones, storage facilities and pottery cooking vessels is well attested across Southeastern Europe. However, the presence of distinct strategies and traditions of food processing, as shown by different implements and facilities, remains largely unrecognized. The project aims to identify such regional variation by analysing qualitative and quantitative archaeological data obtained by examination of artefact collections from the ten “target sites”.

The understanding of the processes of mechanical and chemical transformation in which the artefacts were involved will be advanced through examples from food science, ethnography and ethnoarchaeology – descriptions of culinary practices, traditional food, and traditional tools and facilities. In the survey of the ethnographic record we will look for insights into the relationships between foodstuffs and the technology of their processing, and into the social and cultural factors involved in food modification (cf. Haaland 2007).

Ultimately, the research will relate the material culture of food of the earliest farmers in Southeastern Europe to specific culinary practices and show the emergence of distinct strategies and traditions of food processing with the expansion of farming.

Researcher: Maria Ivanova