M.A. Theses: Daniela Balanzategui, 2012


Colonial Indigenous and Mastizo Foodways:  Ceramic Analysis and Ethnoarchaeology in the Highlands  of Ecuador

Archaeological approaches regarding cultural change or continuity after the Spanish conquest of America have been focused on presenting quantification of majolica (European) vs. coarse earthenware (Indigenous) ceramic styles. This thesis provides a reconstruction and quantification of vessel forms from a household in the 18th century colonial city of Riobamba.

The results are compared with ethnoarchaeological inventories and testimonies of eight modern households in the Highlands of Ecuador, in order to understand food preparation and consumption traditions. Testing European practices such as separation of vessel function, individualization of tableware, and standardization of table settings, this work proposes that the historically Mestizo population is politically situated to practice European foodways to maintain social status and at the same time reinforce their separation from the local Indigenous population. On the other hand, Indigenous people intentionally continue local traditions of communal feasting with the use of large pots in order to express their identity. The theoretical implications of these findings shed light on a complex combination of domestic practices as builders of mutable and negotiable ethnic identities.


Keywords: ethnic identities, Indigenious people and Mestizos, domestic practices, colonial foodways, Ecuador, Andes, ceramic analysis, ethnoarchaeology.