Abstract: Setting the Table at Hellenistic Gordion


In this lecture I reconstruct the nature of food and drink at Gordion, an archaeological site in central Turkey, in the Hellenistic period (333 – 189 BCE). Food-related activities were the most essential of domestic duties: the procuring, storing, preparing, processing, and consuming of food and drink required substantial and sustained time and effort. Although ancient authors had little interest in recording the details of daily life, excavation and research has generated a large corpus of relevant data. I examine several categories of material evidence produced by the excavation of Hellenistic houses at Gordion, including storage containers and mixing bowls, pots and pans, dishes and bowls, floral and faunal remains, and residue analysis. Each encodes unique and detailed information, but when considered together, the evidence reveals much about food in its original quotidian context and even more about the residents themselves: what they ate and drank, how it was prepared and served, and how and why these culinary customs changed over time.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Berlin, A.M. 1999. “What’s for Dinner? The Answer is in the Pot.” BAR(Nov/Dec):46-55, 62.

Sparkes, B.A. and L. Talcott. 1977. Pots and Pans of Classical Athens. AgoraPicBk 1. Athens: American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Sparkes, B.A. 1962. “The Greek Kitchen.” JHS 82:121-137.

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