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People, Places and Possessions


Edited By Antony Buxton, Linda Hulin and Jane Anderson

Central to human life and experience, habitation forms a context for enquiry within many disciplines. This collection brings together perspectives on human habitation in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, social history, material culture, literature, art and design, and architecture. Significant shared themes are the physical and social structuring of space, practice and agency, consumption and gender, and permanence and impermanence. Topics range from archaeological artefacts to architectural concepts, from Romano-British consumption to the 1950s Playboy apartment, from historical elite habitation to present-day homelessness, from dwelling «on the move» to the crisis of household dissolution, and from interior design to installation art. Not only is this volume a rich resource of varied aspects and contexts of habitation, it also provides compelling examples of the potential for interdisciplinary conversations around significant shared themes.

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4. You Are Where You Eat: Worldview and the Public/Private Preparation and Consumption of Food (Wendy Morrison)


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4 You Are Where You Eat: Worldview and the Public/Private Preparation and Consumption of Food


Based upon the study of rural domestic assemblages from the Late Iron Age and Early Roman period of southern Britain, this chapter explores the connection between the use of space for food preparation, consumption, and disposal and the worldview of the individuals involved. Innovations in the later Iron Age, influenced by increased exposure to continental foodstuffs, containers, and preparation techniques were widely accepted in some homes and largely rejected in others. This must be more nuanced than a simple economic interpretation: who could and could not afford to buy exotic things? Equally, there must be a more complex narrative than the simple assimilation/resistance model – rejection does not always mean resistance. Using Douglas’ matrix of cultural possibilities, we can begin to relate domestic assemblages and domestic organisation of space to the individuals who surrounded themselves with them and make some suggestions about what drove their consumer choices. Can we tease out an understanding of how past peoples saw and related to the world around them from the archaeological remains of domestic cooking and eating spaces?

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