The Melting Pot team got their second outing this week, at the International Medieval Congress, in Leeds. The project is still in its early stages, but the conference theme was Food, Feast, and Famine, so how could we refuse? We hosted a discussion session entitled From Cooking Pot to Melting Pot: Archaeologies of Food and Identity in the Early Middle Ages, in which we introduced the project and presented some related work that inspires us. The session was chaired by our own Oliver Craig, and also featured a research presentation by Anita Radini, on her work with osteology, isotopes and dental calculus in an early-medieval population from the Midlands. Anita was followed by Dr Kris Poole, who gave us a nice synthesis of the enormous quantities of zooarchaeological data that exists for Late Saxon/Viking period England, as a way into addressing dietary differences in identity. This was followed by Dr Gareth Perry, from our steering panel. Gareth outlined some of the key changes in ceramic form and diversity that we see in Anglo-Scandinavian England, and what they might mean in terms of pottery function, culinary technology, and identity production. The whole session was really inspiring, not least as a result of our being joined by an audience of experts, including Ben Jervis, Debby Banham, Maureen Mellor, and Michelle Alexander.
It all set us up perfectly for our forthcoming investigations into ceramic contents and use, and we look forward to returning in 2017 with some preliminary results.