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Cooking with stones : An ethnoarchaeological study of stone oven cooking strategies in island Melanesia

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Title: Cooking with stones : An ethnoarchaeological study of stone oven cooking strategies in island Melanesia
Authors: Nojima, Yoko
Issue Date: 2008
Description: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008.
The archaeological record from Vanuatu, most of which falls into the early settlement period, exhibits a wide range of related stone oven features. Such patterning is suggestive of practices that are exploratory, rather than having an already established cooking strategy. The appearance of distinctive local technological variants that is detected at Arapus site on Efate, then, may indicate the process of local adaptation and diversification.
The examination of contemporary cooking practices demonstrates that stone oven cooking is a complex technological system shaped by a range of ecological, social, and historical factors. In a sense, various styles of oven structures and cooking strategies are linked to certain food types such as taro and yams. However, the examination of ethnographic stone ovens from northern Vanuatu eliminates any simplistic causal relationship between a specific cooking style and particular foods. Conversely, there are multiple technological options to be taken, depending on how people in a given society conceptualize their cooking system. While ecological factors circumscribe the range of possible alternatives, factors such as cultural values and sociopolitical relations among the people also play an important role in determining the technological process.
This dissertation examines the diversity of stone oven cooking strategies in northern Vanuatu, located in central Melanesia. Using an ethnoarchaeological research method, this study explores the variability of cooking practices in two regions with contrasting ecological settings (Northwest Santo, Malo, and other islands). This study aims to identify factors affecting the development and diversification of stone oven cooking technologies. Cooking with pots, another method whose use is confined to certain regions in Melanesia, is also taken into account in light of understanding the loss of pottery in Pacific prehistory. Employing an anthropology of technology framework which incorporates the active role of agency, provided a comprehensive perspective viewpoint in evaluating stone oven cooking strategies and related culinary practices.
This dissertation is comprised of two parts: an ethnoarchaeological research section presenting the detailed description of contemporary stone oven cooking strategies, including the experimental study examining the heat effects of stone oven cooking, and the detailed documentation of archaeological features reflecting possible stone oven cooking activities.
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URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/20398
ISBN: 9780549808398
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Anthropology Ph.D Dissertations
Ph.D. - Anthropology



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