© 2010

Pre-Columbian Foodways

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Food, Culture, and Markets in Ancient Mesoamerica

  • John Staller
  • Michael Carrasco

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Agriculture and Social Complexity: The Roles of Feasting and Ritual Economies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 22-22
    2. John E. Staller, Michael D. Carrasco
      Pages 1-20
    3. Jeffrey R. Parsons
      Pages 109-136
    4. Mari Carmen Serra, Carlos Lazcano A
      Pages 137-156
    5. Rosemary A. Joyce, John S. Henderson
      Pages 157-173
    6. Eduardo Williams
      Pages 175-190
    7. Bruce H. Dahlin, Daniel Bair, Tim Beach, Matthew Moriarty, Richard Terry
      Pages 191-232
  3. Ethnography, Ethnobotany, Language and Diet

About this book


The significance of food and feasting to Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures has been extensively studied by archaeologists, anthropologists and art historians. Foodways studies have been critical to our understanding of early agriculture, political economies, and the domestication and management of plants and animals. Scholars from diverse fields have explored the symbolic complexity of food and its preparation, as well as the social importance of feasting in contemporary and historical societies. This book unites these disciplinary perspectives — from the social and biological sciences to art history and epigraphy — creating a work comprehensive in scope, which reveals our increasing understanding of the various roles of foods and cuisines in Mesoamerican cultures.


The volume is organized thematically into three sections. Part 1 gives an overview of food and feasting practices as well as ancient economies in Mesoamerica. Part 2 details ethnographic, epigraphic and isotopic evidence of these practices. Finally, Part 3 presents the metaphoric value of food in Mesoamerican symbolism, ritual, and mythology. The resulting volume provides a thorough, interdisciplinary resource for understanding, food, feasting, and cultural practices in Mesoamerica.


Archaeology of Agriculture Chocolate Cultural Studies John E Staller Keramik Maize Mayan Studies Mesoamerica Rituals Vor- und Frühgeschichte corn mayans

Editors and affiliations

  • John Staller
    • 1
  • Michael Carrasco
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. AnthropologyField MuseumChicagoU.S.A.
  2. 2.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeU.S.A.

Bibliographic information