Foodways of the mid-18th century Cape : archaeological ceramics from the Grand Parade in central Cape Town

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The principal intention of this thesis was to study the archaeologically excavated remains from the site of the Grand Parade in central Cape Town. The main lines of argument are centred around the question of the ceramics and how these can be interpreted to add to the knowledge of everyday life at the Cape. This involved excavation of the site, a descriptive report on the site, formulating a typological system of classification relevant to the sample, and interpretation of the ceramic data, considering its context within the local ceramic tradition and the overarching historical background of the Cape. The typological framework used in the ceramic analysis is largely based on the work by Mary Beaudry and others and the interpretive style draws heavily on the ideas about the food domain postulated by Anne Yentsch. A social history paradigm has been used to study the nature of the local evidence, to investigate how the excavated ceramics can be used to inform in one of the most basic cultural traditions involving the foodways of early Capetonians. It has been found: that the typological framework for the ceramic analysis set out in this thesis, is successful in interpreting the ceramics; that the ideological functions of the ceramics remain a less tangible aspect of recreating the past; that although the local food way tradition of the mid-18th century continues to be a complicated web of cultural interactions, through the use of a multi-disciplinary approach, the archaeological evidence can be successfully integrated with the faw:ial, inventory and other docwnentary sources; and that all the aforementioned are crucial to a better, more holistic understanding of the local Cape foodway tradition of the mid-18th century.

Bibliography: pages 278-301.