Cooking, space and the formation of social identities in Neolithic Northern Greece: evidence of thermal structure assemblages from Avgi and Dispilio in Kastoria
This dissertation analyses the spatial and contextual organisation of thermal structures (hearths and ovens) on thirty excavated Neolithic sites from Macedonia and Western Thrace throughout the Neolithic period in Greece in diverse habitation environments (tells, flat-extended sites and lake-side sites). Unpublished material from two settlements, Avgi and Dispilio in Kastoria, will also complement this study. This dissertation raises the question of how communities were organised and how different forms of habitus or different kinds of entanglements tell us something of daily life and the formation of social identities. My principal field of research lies in the social interfaces developed around consumption practices in diverse spatial contexts in the course of everyday life. Key questions of this study involve the overall emergence and dispersal of social and cultural traditions in time and in space through the examination of different spatial and material entanglements. My analysis clarifies that intra-site spatial organisation in the area studied does not directly correspond with settlement types. The examination of archaeological data showed that similar configurations of social space can be found in dissimilar settlement types. My study demonstrates that cultural ‘assemblages’ in prehistory do not correspond to geographically broad united community groups but instead they show local diversity and social complexity. Instead of being modelled as unified, monolithic ‘cultures’, people seem to have come together around a sequence of chronologically and geographically focused forms of local identities. A local-scale examination of intra-site spatial patterns from Neolithic Macedonia and Western Thrace demonstrated that, although different settlement types are recorded within particular geographical regions, comparable organisation of space among contemporary sites indicates the development of similar social structures.