Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert L. Schuyler

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Moore

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert W. Preucel

Abstract

This research utilizes historical archaeology in the examination of the foodways and food landscape of Philadelphia ca. 1750-1850. The method employed here combines archaeological and documentary research to explore historic food habits and culinary practices. Primary research consists of analysis of animal bones from three sites located in and around Philadelphia including the Speaker’s House, Stenton, and the National Constitution Center. Additionally archaeobotanical materials are examined from the National Constitution Center site. These datasets are combined with faunal and floral analyses from other Philadelphia archaeological sites in order to facilitate an examination of the foodways of the city as a whole, rather than the food practices of specific households or assemblages. Several case examples are presented synthesizing the zooarchaeological and documentary research. When combined, these research perspectives result in a more well-balanced and nuanced understanding of past foodways and food landscapes. Archaeological data typically indicates long-term patterned consumption practices while documentary data provides information about short-term food offerings and events. Through comparing, contrasting, and eventually knitting together these two viewpoints on foodways in the past, it is possible to achieve a more detailed understanding of historic culinary practices. This methodology combining archaeological and historical data facilitates research on the foodways of Philadelphia in the late colonial, Revolutionary, and early Republican periods and also highlights the potential of faunal and floral remains for addressing questions about foodways and food landscapes in the historic past.

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