Commensality and Labor in Terminal Ubaid Northern Mesopotamia

Jason Kennedy


Recent anthropological research on commensality has emphasized how food consumption creates and mediates social relations and social identities. The goal of this paper is to integrate the often neglected study of production and labor into studies of commensality. I will explore the commensal relationships formed by the consumption of food during cooperative communal work events through a discussion of the Terminal Ubaid levels from three sites in northern Mesopotamia. I have suggested that flint-scraped bowls were used to provide for extra-household labor recruited during times of labor shortage by households of similar social standing, while painted ceramics were used for daily food consumption. In this scenario flint-scraped bowls were used in different social contexts by people of similar social standing.

Near Eastern Archaeology; Ubaid Period; Organization of Labor; Work Feasts; Food Production; Ceramic Use-alteration

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