Food and identity in medieval and early modern urban communities

Project description

The purpose of the project was to look at the connections between diet and ethnicity, class and gender in Medieval and Early Modern Fennoscandia using zooarchaeological data, human skeletal remains and stable isotope analyses. The results of the project have shown that class, gender and ethnic identities were expressed in food culture in situations of class tension and cultural contact, but it is also evident that the everyday food culture was very similar in different social groups. Dietary practices of different ethnic groups hybridized in Northern Finland and gave rise to a hybrid local food culture. The results indicate that the association of class and foodways was complicated in Northern Fennoscandia, and that models used for studying the manifestation and construction of class identity in the Anglo-American world cannot be directly applied to Northern Fennoscandia.

Project coordinator

University of Oulu