Symposium J-14 – Roundtable

We all like to be able to compare the different approaches and points of view, that’s why we are happy to announce you the following roundtable on the 18 may 10:00 AM CEST

Between Reenactment and Inspiration  with Aurélie Chantran, Fabian Müllers and Charles Viaut

The study of medieval and modern foodways is founded on the careful interpretation of recipe books since its beginnings as a scientific field of research. However, other methods have emerged over the years, often inspired from disciplines such as medieval archaeology, as well as historical re-enacting of medieval techniques. First of all, the archaeology of material culture has been developing new approaches based on experimental methods. Following that trend, Aurélie Chantran has been conducting researches on medieval cooking for several years. Based on copies of medieval potteries and controlled experimental conditions, her work contributed to characterize physical transformations of food associated to boiling, frying or grilling. Associations between observed cooking traces and stigmata recorded on archaeological material have been made possible, opening the way for a technical and cultural analysis of medieval cookware. Fabian Müllers’ researches have been led in the experimental field as well. An experienced historical cook, Fabian has been leading re-enactments of various medieval recipes for years, basing his experiences on data extracted both from medieval recipe books and archaeological researches. His work has led himself to comparative studies of various medieval methods of cooking in terms of performance and energy use. Following more traditional field and archive-based methods, Charles Viaut interests himself in cooking structures and remains in medieval elite sites as well as recipe mentions out of cookery books. Parallel interpretation of archaeological data and medieval domestic accounts have led him to an approach of medieval cooking in its archaeological context and in a long-term perspective. Development of parallel methods and theories give way, from these researchers’ point of view, to a more comprehensive and concrete approach of medieval foodways.


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