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Abstract

Foodways are an aspect of community building that find expression in the physical and cultural landscape. Using family reconstitution, food maps, and other archaeological and anthropological approaches to study foodways and commensality in the mining town of Helvetia, Pennsylvania (ca. 1891–1947), I lay out a program to reconstruct the spatial relationships associated with food procurement, preparation, and consumption in historic-period communities. Particular emphasis is placed on food sharing and shared food activities in the context of the daily meal. These reconstructed relationships or food connections reflect the varied networks and boundaries within the community, based on ethnicity, gender, age, sex, and other variables. Using a range of visualization techniques, this food-centered approach provides insight into household structure and aspects of community formation, as well as the construction of identity and place.

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