The Boston University Archaeology Department Essay

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On May 9th, 2016, the Boston University Archaeology Department held a public outreach event called, “Eating Archaeology”, where guests were served foods from four different time periods and places: Bronze-age Mycenae, Bronze-age China, Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, specifically the Aztecs, and mid-19th century Boston. The creation of these dishes was made possible through analyzing archaeological sites through the lens of the newly popularized sub-field, archaeology of the senses, which studies how the materiality of the world contributes to and is influenced by how humans use their senses (Hamilakis 4). Through analyzing the bodily senses, archaeologists can create a more detailed interpretation of the experiences of ancient humans (Hamilakis i). This new interest in the sensory aspect of human culture brings a fascination with the types of foods that people consumed in the past. With this in mind, a group of graduate students in the fields of archaeology, food history, and gastronomy, at Boston University, collaborated to test if material remains can be used to recreate ancient recipes. Through eating these foods, one can glimpse a part of the culture that ate the dish, illustrating the power of taste, and demonstrating that archaeology can be used to create something tangible for the public. This paper will focus on the research process for the mid-19th century brothel site, located in Boston, and how the materials gathered during excavation were used to reconstruct the
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