International colloquium ‘Feasting with the Greeks: towards a social archaeology of ritual consumption in the Greek world’.

  • Crielaard, J. P. (Organiser)
  • Catherine Morgan (Organiser)
  • Xenia Charalambidou (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceAcademic


Over the last three decades, feasting has become an established field of research in both anthropology and archaeology. It is an important source of information for the study of social structures and the mechanisms that help to create, maintain, and change them. The reasons for this are straightforward. Feasting is a key feature of the social life of communities around the globe and through most of history. Feasts occur throughout the year and are omnipresent in the social lives of individuals and collectives: they form part of life-cycle rituals and other important occasions and events in peoples’ lives (births, coming-of-age ceremonies, weddings, funerals, festivals, victories etc.).
In the Greek world, scholarly attention has largely focused on the socio-political aspects of feasting. Feasting has been recognized as an important organizing principle especially in Aegean prehistory, and for the first millennium BC, Oswyn Murray has done ground-breaking work. The Greek symposion as an institution has attracted particular attention, with specific studies of its origin, relations with the Orient, and associated iconography. This conference offers a broader approach to Greek feasting – thematically, chronologically and geographically. Rather than the favoured subjects of feasts as civic institutions and the socio-political dimensions of feasting, it focuses on the practicalities of supply and organization, their place within the subsistence and food habits of the community overall, the role of material remains in shaping our understanding of the nature and impact of such events, and the range of contexts in which they were performed. It will examine the practicalities and organisation of major consumption events in the Greek world (broadly understood) from a material (archaeological and iconographical) standpoint, and will consider critically the application of the concept of ‘feasting’ in the material record. Archaeology is central to this project; all participants bring new questions and data from their own research programmes and fieldwork. Texts record those aspects of feasting considered to be of particular political and/or economic significance, while the archaeological record gives a fuller context and enables us to bring into focus types and aspects of feasting that did not enter the written record.
Period11 Mar 2019
Event typeConference
LocationOxford, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational