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We are not only what we eat, but also where, when, how, and with whom we eat

We are not only what we eat, but also where, when, how, and with whom we eat. Foodways are deeply embedded in a wide range of social activities, constituting a significant aspect of all human societies. In every human culture, great proportions of time are spent on food-related activities. Archaeologists have been investigating how food production, preparation, consumption, and discard practices articulate with politics, ideologies, economies, gender, and more. Research into these topics has provided detailed and complex information about past social lives in a wide variety of cultures and eras.

Fig 1 Sites and artifacts.jpg

Our mission is to explore diverse aspects of foodways in ancient societies worldwide, with a focus on China. We employ multiple scientific methods, including archaeobotanical analysis, ceramic petrography, use-wear analysis, and zooarchaeological methods, to investigate the production and use of culinary utensils and to uncover food and drink remains in archaeological contexts. These methods generate the empirical data that allow us to address anthropological issues, including human-environmental relations, interplays between subsistence strategies and ritual activities, and connections between population migration and material cultural dispersal. As late professor Kwang-chih Chang pointed out, “One of the best ways of getting to a culture’s heart would be through its stomach”.

Fig 3. Fungi compare (2).tif

Fermentation related Fungi in Chinese Neolithic brewing vessels

Fig 4 damaged starch.jpg

Starch granules from Natufian stone mortars, Israel

Fig 4. pottery size change.tif
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