Colonial Indigenous and Mestizo foodways: ceramic analysis and ethnoarchaeology in the Highlands of Ecuador

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Colonial Indigenous and Mestizo foodways: ceramic analysis and ethnoarchaeology in the Highlands of Ecuador

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Abstract

Archaeological approaches regarding cultural change or continuity after the Spanish conquest of America have been focused on presenting proportions of European (majolica) vs. Indigenous (coarse earthenware) ceramic styles. This thesis provides a reconstruction and quantification of vessel forms from an 18th century household (Riobamba, Ecuador). The results are compared with inventories and interviews from ten modern Indigenous and Mestizo households in the Highlands of Ecuador, in order to understand colonial food preparation and consumption traditions. Testing colonial practices, this work proposes that Mestizo population has been politically situated to practice European foodways to maintain social status and reinforce their separation from Indigenous people. Indigenous people intentionally continue local traditions of communal feasting with the use of large pots to express their identity. The theoretical implications of these findings shed light on a complex combination of domestic practices as builders of negotiable ethnic identities.

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