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The Social Origins of Cooking and Dining in Early Villages of Western Asia

  • Katherine I. Wright (a1)

Abstract

This paper explores social customs of cooking and dining as farming emerged in the earliest villages of Palestine and Jordan (12,650–6850 cal BC). The approach is a spatial analysis of in situ hearths, pits, bins, benches, platforms, activity areas, caches, and ground stone artefacts. Mortars, pestles, and bowls first appear in significant numbers in base camps of semi-sedentary Natufian hunter-gatherers. Elaborate and decorated, these artefacts imply a newly formal social etiquette of food-sharing. They were used within houses, near hearths, and in outdoor areas. The earliest farmers of the Khiamian and Pre-Pottery Neolithic A used simple, mostly undecorated, ground stone tools. One-room houses were often fitted with a hearth and a small mortar in the centre, features that also occur in outdoor areas. In the Early and Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, firepits, milling stations, and storage features were placed on porches and outdoor areas near house doors. These areas formed a transition zone between house and community, where food preparation provided opportunities for social contacts. The most private rooms in houses were supplied with benches, platforms, and decorated hearths, and probably sheltered household meals. In the Late PPNB, when some villages grew to unprecedented sizes, storage, and cooking facilities were placed in constricted, private spaces comparatively hidden from community view. Numerous milling tools and multiple milling stations in individual houses suggest intensification of production of prepared foods. It is argued that adult women bore the brunt of the increased labour and that these activities placed them under new restrictions of daily activity and visibility in relation to village communities.

Cette étude explore les coutumes sociales que sont la cuisine et la prise de repas au moment de l'apparition de l'agriculture dans les villages les plus primitifs de la Palestine et de la Jordanie (12 650–6850 av. J.-C. en années calibrées). L'approche en est une analyse spatiale in situ des foyers, fosses, dépôtoirs, bancs, plateformes, aires d'activité, caches et objets manufacturés en pierre polie. Mortiers, pilons et bols apparaissent pour la première fois en nombre significatif dans des campements de chasseurs cueilleurs natufiens semi-sédentaires. Elaborés et décorés, ces objets impliquent des règles sociales nouvellement codifiées de partage de la nourriture. On utilisait ces objets dans les maisons, près des foyers et en plein air. Les premiers fermiers du khiamien et du néolithique A pré-céramique utilisaient des outils en pierre simples et pour la plupart non décorés. Les maisons à pièce unique étaient souvent équipée d'un foyer avec un petit mortier au centre, traits que l'on retrouve aussi dans les zones en plein air. Au cours des périodes primitive et moyenne du néolithique pré-céramique B, des foyers creusés, des endroits pour moudre le grain et des possibilités de stockage, se trouvaient placés sur les porches et à l'extérieur, près des portes des maisons. Ces lieux formaient entre la maison et la communauté une zone de transition où la préparation de la nourriture offrait des occasions de contacts sociaux. Les pièces les plus intimes de la maison comportaient des bancs, des plateformes et des foyers décorés, et c'est probablement là que la famille prenait ses repas. A la fin du néolithique précéramique B, quand certains villages atteignirent une taille sans précédent, le nécessaire pour la conservation et la cuisine fut placé dans des espaces restreints et privés, relativement cachés à la vue de la communauté. De nombreux outils servant à moudre et de multiples sites consacrés à cette activité retrouvés dans des maisons particulières témoignent de l'intensification de la production de nourriture.élaborée. On argumente que c'étaient les femmes adultes qui assumaient l'essentiel du fardeau de ce supplément de travail et que ces tâches leur imposaient de nouvelles restrictions en matière d'activité quotidienne et de visibilité par rapport aux communautés villageoises

Dieser Artikel untersucht die sozialen Bräuche des Kochen und Essen bei der Entstehung des Ackerbau in den frühesten Dörfern von Palästina und Jordanien (12,650–6850 cal BC). Bei der Methode handelt es sich um eine Raumanalyse von in situ erhaltenen Herde, Gruben, Vorratsgruben, Bänke, Plattformen, Aktivitätszonen, Speicher und Mahlsteinen. Mörser, Stößel und Schalen tauchen in signifikanter Anzahl zuerst in den Basislagern der halb seßhaften Jäger und Sammler des Natoufien auf, und implizieren in elaborierter und verzierter Form eine neue förmliche, soziale Verhaltensregeln bei der Verteilung der Nahrung. Sie wurden innerhalb der Häuser benutzt, z.B. neben dem Herd, und im Außenbereich. Die frühesten Bauern des Khiamian und akeramischen Neolithikum A benutzen einfache, meistens unverzierte, geschliffene Steingeräte. Die einräumigen Häuser waren oft mit einem Herd und einem kleinen Mörser, der im Zentrum lag, ausgestattet. Diese Befunde kommen aber auch im Außenbereich vor. Im frühen und mittleren akeramischen Neolithikum B wurden Feuergruben, Mahlstationen und Speicherstrukturen in Vorbauten oder einen beim Haus gelegenen Außenbereich verlegt. Diese Bereiche bildeten gleichsam eine Übergangszone zwischen dem Haus und der Gemeinschaft, und boten bei der Zubereitung der Nahrung Gelegenheit zu sozialen Kontakten. Private Räume waren mit Bänken, Plattformen und verzierten Herde versehen, und dienten auch den Mahlzeiten der Hausgemeinschaft. Im späten PPNB, als einige Dörfer zu beispielloser Größe anwuchsen, wurden die Speicher- und Kocheinrichtungen in beschränkte, private Räume verlagert, die regelrecht vor dem Anblick der Gemeinschaft geschützt waren. Zahlreiche Mahlgeräte und Mahlstationen in einzelnen Häusern weisen auf eine Intensivierung der Produktion von bereitetem Essen hin. Es wird argumentiert, daß erwachsene Frauen die Last dieser angestiegenen Arbeitsbelastung trugen, und sie diese Tätigkeiten in bezug auf die Dorfgemeinschaft in ihrer täglichen Aktivität und Sichtbarkeit beschränkten.

Este trabajo explora las costumbres sociales en el cocinar y cenar en el momento de la evolución de los primeros poblados agricultores en Palestina y Jordán (12.650–6850 cal a.C). Se adopta una metodología de análisis in situ de hogares, pozos, basureros, bancos, plataformas, zonas de actividad, escondrijos y artefactos de piedra pulida. Un importante número de morteros, almireces y cuencos aparecen or primera vez en los campamentos base de los cazadores-recollectores semi-sedentarios del Natufian. Muy elaborados y decorados, estos artefactos dan testimonio de una nueva etiqueta social al compartir los alimentos. Se usaban dentro de las casas, cerca de los hogares y también en zonas exteriores. Los primeros agricultores del periodo Khiamian y del Neolítico acerámico A usaban simples útiles de piedra pulida, normalmente sin decoración. Las casas, de una sóla habitación, a menudo poseían un hogar y un pequeño mortero en el centro, características que también se dan en zonas exteriores. En el Neolítico acerámico B pronto y medio, hoyos para fuego, zonas para moler el grano y zonas de almacenamiento se emplazaron en los porches y zonas externas cercanas a las puertas de las casas. Estas zonas formaban una zona de transición entre casa y comunidad, donde la preparación de la comida facilitaba ocasiones para el contacto social. Las habitaciones más privadas de las casas contaban con bancos, plataformas y hogares decorados, y era probablemente donde tenían lugar las comidas de la familia. En el Neolítico acerámico B tardío, cuando algunos poblados habían crecido hasta alcanzar tamaños previamente desconocidos, las instalaciones de almacenamiento y preparación de alimentos se situaron en espacios cerrados y privados, relativamente escondidos del resto de la comunidad. Los muchos utensilios y zonas para la preparación del grano en cada casa sugieren la intensificación de la producción de comidas preparadas. Se sugiere que fueron las mujeres adultas las que llevaron el peso del aumento de la cantidad de trabajo, y que estas actividades las sometieron a nuevos condicionamientos en su actividad diaria y su visibilidad en la comunidad del pueblo.

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Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
  • ISSN: 0079-497X
  • EISSN: 2050-2729
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-prehistoric-society
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