Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Elizabeth Greene


Food preparation and consumption are culturally specific practices. This thesis uses literary and archaeological evidence from the military fort at Vindolanda on Hadrian’s Wall as a case study for understanding the cultural identities of diverse communities on the frontier of Roman Britain. This involves the investigation of the dietary identities of various social groups within the broader framework of the maintenance of cultural identity by conquered peoples. The distinctive preservation of archaeological materials at Vindolanda provides the opportunity to include implements not usually preserved (e.g. wooden objects and environmental data). In addition, the Vindolanda writing tablets contextualize the artefact assemblages. The tablets found within the early forts (ca. AD 85-120), consist of correspondences and inventory lists, some of which catalogue the food that was actually within the fort storehouses. Furthermore, this project provides a pathway to applying models of anthropological food theory to archaeological evidence and to studying ancient foodways.