Food & Archeology: Trade, Traffic, and Enterprise from Antiquity to Today
Archeology, culinary history, slaughterhouses
A source of both nutrition and pleasure, food is also a booming commercial enterprise with a long, storied history. This tour allows visitors to mix archeology and culinary history in order to better understand the commercial aspect of Rome’s cuisine throughout history. Our time begins in the ancient produce and cattle markets near the Tiber River before proceeding to the base of the Capitoline Hill. A site for ancient animal sacrifice, it will allow us to understand the importance of religious ritual and the economy of food in the ancient world. As a way to discover well-known sites in a new light, monuments such as at the Circus Maximus also help explain how cuisine was used as a means to satisfy and manipulate the ancient Roman population. We then moved to Testaccio, an area where both ancient and modern archeological ruins testify to the diets and tastes of Romans from antiquity to the present day. Issues of waste disposal, regulation, importation, and economics are all ripe for discussion as we discover the evolution of food commerce in Rome. Our time concludes with a stroll through one of Testaccio’s former slaughterhouses, bringing our lesson full circle from antiquity to the modern day.
Please note, this tour includes a significant amount of walking and, unlike my other culinary tours, does not include significant food tastings — though a stop for a snack along the way can be arranged!