Cuisine in Transition is part of the ERC funded project “Sicily in Transition’. This project aims, by utilising a multifaceted approach, to understand the social and economic effects to the people of Sicily associated with four radical changes during the Middle Ages. From the Byzantine (6th-8th) to Aghlabid (9th) to Kalbid (10-11th) to Norman (11th-12th) to Swabian (12-13th), these are arguably some of the most formidable ideological regimes to visit Europe. Although these events are familiar in Mediterranean history, little is known about the cause behind, and consequences of these transitions. At the epicentre, Sicily would have experienced new political and religious transitions, the introduction of new agricultural systems and the arrival of new migrants.
Cuisine in Transition aims to aid these questions by tracking changes in pottery use and changing influences on cuisine and resource acquisition as a result of these socio economic shifts. This will be achieved through the isolation and identification of organic residues in cooking pots and other domestic containers from a number of significant sites throughout Sicily. Well-established methods in high throughput lipid residue analysis including GCMS, GCCIRMS AND HTGC will be employed to determine use and function through the identification of absorbed lipids. Here it is the aim to produce a large scale, representative data set of pottery form, function and contents to determine significant patterns in use within and between assemblages.
I will work closely in this project with the whole Sicily in Transition group to ensure that the focused question belonging to my PhD, complement the wider aims of the project. Particularly the ceramics group in Rome in understanding vessel types and use to aid my selection and interpretations, as well as human and animal isotope studies which will compliment questions regarding diet.
I did a BSc in Bioarchaeology here at the University of York from 2012- 2015. For my dissertation I used bulk stable isotope analysis of charred food remains to understand the use of pottery in Japan during the late Pleistocene to Holocene transition. I then completed an MSc in Archaeological Science at the University of Oxford from 2016-2017. For my thesis I worked on methods for extracting lipids from archaeological ceramics and applied this to South African ceramics to understand the use of pottery in pre- colonial herding communities.