Stale Bread and Moldy Cheese: A historical and Archaeological Study of Sixteenth-Century Foodways at Sea Using Evidence Collected from the Emanuel Poi

Ree Rebecca Rodgers

          This thesis is about the cycle of food use including acquisition, preservation, storage, preparation, consumption, and disposal aboard a sixteenth-century Spanish ship. The Emanuel Point Shipwreck (8ES1980) is believed to be one of the lost ships of Tristán de Luna y Arellano's doomed colonial fleet that succumbed to a hurricane in Pensacola Bay in 1559. Its numerous galley-related artifacts offer insights into the daily meals colonists consumed during their time at sea between Veracruz and Pensacola Bay. A study of both archaeological remains and historical documents revealed that a European diet remained intact on the journey with only a few substitutions. Mealtime refuse indicates opportunities for displays of wealth and status, and for reinforcement of conventional European attitudes about privileged classes. Additionally, evidence from the processes of acquisition, storage, and preparation all demonstrate that this shipwreck was originally a vessel of the Spanish Empire descended from a long Mediterranean seafaring tradition, and that it occupied a dominant position in the new settlement.

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