Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Food and Identity: a Case Study of Roman Soldiers and Native Civilians in Roman Britain

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Anthropology

First Advisor

Matthew L. Murray

Second Advisor

Ahmet Yukleyen

Third Advisor

Nancy L. Wicker


Food is a universal medium through which identity is expressed. In cultures both past and present, food represents a direct way to communicate many aspects of identity such as ethnicity, nationality, status, age, and gender. In archaeology, while the nutritional and economic roles of food have been a topic of study for decades, the relationship between food and identity is a research area largely in its infancy. In my thesis, I explore general aspects of identity in the past, and in particular, I utilize a case study of four archaeological sites (Segontium (Caernarfon), Portchester Castle, Wavendon Gate, and Dragonby) to analyze the way in which food (meat) is employed in the production, articulation, and negotiation of ethnic identity in Roman Britain. In doing so, I contribute to the development of a methodology that archaeologists can apply in the interpretation and examination of identity in the past through the analysis of faunal remains.

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