Uncovering Dietary Practices Through the Proteomic Analysis of Ceramics

Fragments  of  ceramic  vessels  litter  the  archaeological  record  as one  of  the  main  surviving  remnants  of  past  food  preparation  and consumption. In this project, we are applying recent advances in ancient protein analysis to explore the culinary practices of a diverse array of ancient populations.

Fragments of ceramic vessels litter the archaeological record as one of the main surviving remnants of past food preparation and consumption. Organic residue analysis has been widely applied to understand the contents and use of ceramic vessels, with particular focus on the recovery of lipids. However, recent approaches using ancient protein analysis from dental calculus and well-preserved food remains have revealed the potential of this approach for identifying ancient foodstuffs, with a high degree of species and tissue-specificity. In this project, we are applying these recent advances to ceramics, in order to explore the culinary practices of a diverse array of ancient populations. Specifically, we are investigating the range and nature of foodstuffs detectable with ancient protein analysis, as well as comparing this approach with established methodologies.


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