Potted Histories: Tracking the Plants and Animals in Southeast Asia between Food Acquisition and Consumption
(University of Florida)
Jasminda Ceron (University of Otago)
Fredeliza Campos (Australian National University)
Michael James Herrera (University of Adelaide)
Paper short abstract:
This poster presents the results of the organic residue analysis of modern pottery samples used for experimental cooking of several food sources in Southeast Asia and their implications as comparative reference materials to track plants and animals in archaeological pottery from the region.
Paper long abstract:
For more comprehensive account of the early history of plants and animals in Southeast Asia, we should extend from their origins, dispersal, and acquisition to their roles in foodways as well as to other quotidian and ritualistic activities during the past by tracking their micro (e.g., phytoliths, pollen, starches, small bones, and scales) and molecular (e.g., lipids, proteins, and alkaloids) remains in material culture (e.g., lithic blades, pottery vessels, ceramic stoves, and grindstones). This research focuses on tracking the plant and animal food sources in archaeological pottery from Southeast Asia, where organic residue analysis on sampled pottery vessels is being done to identify their former food contents and elucidate past culinary practices. In order to interpret the organic chemical data from archaeological pottery, a comparative reference collection from modern materials is being constructed. Part of this reference collection are the contemporary earthenware pottery vessels used for the experimental cooking of several important food sources in Southeast Asia, namely, pig, chicken, rice, millet, freshwater and marine fishes, coconut, and swamp cabbage. This poster then presents an overview of the results of the organic residue analysis of these experimental pottery samples using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and their archaeological implications.