Eating at Home and ‘Dining’ Out? Commensalities in the Neolithic and Late Chalcolithic in the Near East

Francesca Balossi Restelli


This paper attempts to draw a picture of different kinds of commensalities in the Near Eastern Pottery Neolithic (7th millennium BC) through an analysis of consumption vessels. The case study will be the Syrian and Turkish regions of the Northern Levant. I shall underline the strong symbolic function of vessels in distinguishing commensal events and argue that the basic role of commensality remains largely unmodified until the end of the Ubaid period (2nd half of 5th millennium BC). The beginning of the Late Chalcolithic then marks a major change. At this point, the development of different types of commensalities leads to a decrease in the role of pottery as symbolic marker of commensal events.

Near Eastern Archaeology; Commensality; Near East; Neolithic; Chalcolithic; Consumption Vessels; Status

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eTopoi. Journal for Ancient Studies (ISSN 2192-2608)