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Friday Seminar: Heather Lapham

by eric — last modified October 25, 2010 03:46 PM
What Friday Seminar
When November 12, 2010
from 04:00 pm to 06:00 pm
Where A 222 Fowler
Contact Name Lana Martin
Contact Email
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From Black Bears to Bunnies: Diets and Desires in the American Southeast and Southern Mexico

By Heather A. Lapham, Curator & Associate Scientist, Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University Carbondale


Dr. Heather Lapham will talk about status-related dietary differences and differential access to meat resources from the perspective of two disparate contexts in the Americas, first among Spanish soldiers at the A.D. 1560s Fort San Juan in western North Carolina and then among Zapotec elite at the Classic period (A.D. 200-800) town of El Palmillo in Oaxaca, Mexico. Meat consumption can mark one’s social standing within a community in different ways. At Fort San Juan, soldiers were provisioned with prime bear meat by their Native American neighbors only when relationships between the two groups were amicable, thus the Spaniards’ status fluctuated over time, being largely dependent upon local politics. In comparison, at El Palmillo, status plays out in the zooarchaeological record in more traditional ways. Wealthier Zapotec families living in the most elaborate upper terrace residences had much greater access to valued rabbit meat than lower status households, although local and regional politics certainly influenced these preferences, especially as the settlement neared its decline.

Part of the Fall 2010 series "Food for Thought: The Archaeology of Diet and Subsistence." Guest scholars explore approaches to and methods of investigating the foodways of past human societies.

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