Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.
We will look at the prehistoric diet; what food resources were available in different periods, the effects of the introduction of farming, and ask what archaeological work at Stonehenge can tell us about Neolithic feasting, and what we can learn from modern hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari. We will also look at some of the major plant groups that supply much of the world’s food.
We will look at Mediterranean food resources, with a particular focus on the Ancient Greeks. We will see how Alexander the Great’s conquests changed diets, how ideas about poor and elite diets developed, and look at Greek ideas about the relationship between food and medicine, ideas that were to last many centuries. Tour of Christ Church kitchens.
Via a brief look at the Romans we move on to the food of Byzantium and then on to the Middle Ages, when both quantity and quality of food as well as position at table reflected status. We will consider how the fall of the Roman Empire effected diets, and how social change changed agriculture and therefore food.
The Feast of the Pheasant was one of the great feasts of the Renaissance. How were such feasts used to project social images and what was eaten at them? We will look at how contact with the Americas and the Far East changed diets in the 16th and 17th centuries. We will also visit Cogges Museum in Witney, Oxfordshire.
From the 18th century to modern fads. This period has seen major changes in the technology of cooking and food preparation as well as changing eating habits and the spread of processed foods. How have these changes affected us, and what do we think the future holds?
Destination: Cogges Museum; Witney
Excursion Rating: Moderate
Up to two hours' walk on even ground or up to an hour's walk on rough and/or steep ground or up lots of stairs and steps.