TO BE CONSUMED WITHOUT MODERATION: a trans-disciplinary approach to drinking, senses and belongingness in Late Bronze Age Mesopotamia through the analysis of ancient organic residues

Perruchini, Elsa (2020) TO BE CONSUMED WITHOUT MODERATION: a trans-disciplinary approach to drinking, senses and belongingness in Late Bronze Age Mesopotamia through the analysis of ancient organic residues. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The consumption of alcoholic beverages is a multi-sensorial experience which was in many past societies a fundamental part of everyday life as well as integral to ritual practices. And yet, this topic has been understudied in Archaeology, although the study of alcohol in ancient Mesopotamia has been slowly gaining in popularity over the last two decades, with an emphasis on the capacity of alcohol access to create power and status differences.

Advances in the field of archaeological organic residue analysis over the past three decades have particularly become crucial to obtain significant additional data and information, unreachable through texts and iconography. Yet, to date the analysis of residue remains of alcohol recovered in ancient ceramic vessels have been restricted to a small number of cases related to alcohol production rather than its consumption due mainly to the current lack of a secure approach that allows the identification of alcoholic beverages in a consumption context.

This thesis aims to distance itself from the common view of beverages as a social distinction tool by reflecting on the sensory and emotional experiences of social drinking based on strong archaeological evidence to create new narratives on social-cultural identity, sense of belonging, and community building in the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500-1100 BCE) site of Khani Masi, located in the Upper Diyala region of Iraq.

In order to be able to recreate elements of the sensory experience of social drinking at Khani Masi, the first aim was to formulate a new multi-disciplinary approach consisting of combining ancient texts, iconography, contextual archaeology and a refined organic residue analysis protocol that allowed us to identify confidently alcoholic beverages in drinking vessels. The results not only highlighted the strong preference for beer but also unveiled information on the ingredients incorporated in its production as well as the practices, paraphernalia and social contexts of its consumption. Based on these results, this study establishes that the highly sensual experience of social drinking at Khani Masi would have inculcated and reinforced a sense of community, accentuated by the communal activity of sharing this experience with other people in a same space.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Ancient Near East, Late Bronze Age, alcoholic beverages, organic residue analysis, gas-chromatography, consumption practices, senses, community and identity.
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Supervisor's Name: Glatz, Dr. Claudia and Toney, Prof. Jaime L.
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Dr Elsa Perruchini
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-80256
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 May 2020 09:54
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2022 15:36
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.80256

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