Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Anthropology

Major Professor

Kandace R. Hollenbach

Committee Members

Erin D. Darby, Walter E. Klippel, Eleanora A. Reber

Abstract

Excavations at Ayia Triada Cave, located on the southern tip of Euboea Island, Greece, have provided evidence for the burial of at least nine individuals in the Early Bronze Age period. On the basis of intentionally smashed and arranged pottery and a thick layer of carbonized plants and animal bones, it has been suggested that feasting occurred in the cave in relation to the burials. Further evidence could lend support to this interpretation. Exceptional preservation and copious amounts of the floral and faunal material excavated from the cave suggests that the cave environment was ideal for the preservation of organic residues absorbed within the pottery as well. This study employs organic residue analysis of pottery found in the cave to investigate possible food/drink consumption and feasting practices associated with funerary rites.Over a hundred samples of Ayia Triada pottery were collected and analyzed to determine their original organic contents. Total lipids were extracted, fractioned, and analyzed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, a combined technique that separates complex organic mixtures into constituent compounds for identification. These results were used to evaluate hypotheses regarding 1) the relationship between the physical food remains and the serving and storage ware; 2) possible storage of liquid goods in jars; 3) imported versus local ware usage patterns; 4) vessel homogeneity; 5) methodological concerns with respect to soil contamination; and 6) the function of culturally important sauceboats. These hypotheses helped to characterize food consumption and feasting practices associated with funerary rituals, in order to gain access to ritual behaviors and broader cultural values of the inhabitants of Southern Euboea.

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