The Mycenaean Feast
James C. Wright
ASCSA, 2004 - Social Science - 217 pages
The large-scale, formal consumption of huge quantities of food and drink is a feature of many societies, but extracting evidence for feasting from the archaeological record has, until recently, been problematic. Now new techniques of scientific analysis are being combined with greater theoretical sophistication to shed exciting new light on this conspicuous social practice. This collection of essays, also published as a special issue (73:2) of the journal Hesperia, investigates the rich evidence for the character of the Mycenaean feast. While much of the evidence discussed comes from the Palace of Nestor near Pylos, the authors also present new material from Tsoungiza near Nemea, and from other Bronze Age sites on mainland Greece and Crete. Textual evidence (from Linear B tablets) for the collection of raw materials, and the stocktaking of equipment, is complemented by discussions of the faunal and artifactual assemblages feasts left behind. Specially commissioned papers put Mycenaean practice in context by comparing it to contemporary activities on Cyprus and in Minoan Crete, while a final chapter compares Bronze with Iron Age Greece, especially as seen through the lens of Homeric epic. While not claiming to be a comprehensive survey of the practice of feasting, this volume offers, nonetheless, a rich and detailed collection of evidence, from a variety of sources, for conspicuous consumption in the Mycenaean period. As well as being core reading for Aegean prehistorians, it will be of interest to students of later Greek culture, anthropologists, and other scholars interested in the wider social aspects of eating and drinking.
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