Eating is essential for life, but it also embodies social and symbolic dimensions. This volume shows how foods and peoples were mutually transformed in the ancient Andes.
Exploring the multiple social, ecological, cultural, and ontological dimensions of food in the Andean past, the contributors of Foodways of the Ancient Andes offer diverse theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches that reveal the richness, sophistication, and ingenuity of Andean peoples. The volume spans time periods and localities in the Andean region to reveal how food is intertwined with multiple aspects of the human experience, from production and consumption to ideology and sociopolitical organization. It illustrates the Andean peoples’ resilience in the face of challenges brought about by food scarcity and environmental change. Chapters dissect the intersection of food, power, and status in early states and empires; examine the impact of food during times of conflict and instability; and illuminate how sacred and high-status foods contributed to the building of the Inka Empire.
Featuring forty-six contributors from ten countries, the chapters employ new analytical methods, integrating different food data and interdisciplinary research to show that food can provide not only simple nutrition but also a multitude of strategies, social and political relationships, and ontologies that are otherwise invisible in the archaeological record.