This network brings together researchers who are at different stages of their career in the fields of molecular archaeology, nutritional epidemiology, zooarchaeology, history of medicine and artefactual archaeology. Each researcher investigates the relationships between food, health, religion, social status, migration and identity from different disciplinary perspectives, but has few opportunities for inter­disciplinary engagement. Yet research into modern diet has the potential to inform investigation into past diets and in turn is enhanced by historical insight into the effect of cultural perceptions of food practices. Members of the public sometimes think that they are being ‘preached at’ by nutritionists and health workers. This network aims to explore this quasi-religious rhetoric of constructing knowledge about food in the context of increased anxieties about food insecurity and childhood obesity. Public understanding of archaeological science increased greatly in 2013 after the discovery of the body of King Richard III, but there could be improved awareness of the challenges and opportunities of archaeological methods, especially in the area of health and nutrition. The network will create an invigorating environment for the exchange and dissemination of research into diet, based on enhanced understanding of inter-disciplinary methods.

Scholars in the Arts and Humanities contribute to science by providing longitudinal approaches to beliefs and systems of knowledge. Scientists contribute to the Arts and Humanities by showing how modern understanding of the body affects what we can learn about life in the past. Archaeologists — who often engage in both laboratory and historical research are uniquely placed to bring arts and science together.

The network is composed of three scholarships each one based in a different university of the White Rose Consortium. Alice Toso (University of York) is working on Food and Faith in Medieval Iberia, Holly Hunt-Watts (University of Leeds) is working on Food and nutrient intake in low income families and Veronica Aniceti (University of Sheffield) is working on Animal Husbandry in Sicily during the Islamic-Christian transition.

To know more about the White Rose University Consortium Networks


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