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Data from: A novel method to analyze social transmission in chronologically sequenced assemblages, implemented on cultural inheritance of the art of cooking

Citation

Isaksson, Sven et al. (2016), Data from: A novel method to analyze social transmission in chronologically sequenced assemblages, implemented on cultural inheritance of the art of cooking, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rq43r

Abstract

Here we present an analytical technique for the measurement and evaluation of changes in chronologically sequenced assemblages. To illustrate the method, we studied the cultural evolution of European cooking as revealed in seven cook books dispersed over the past 800 years. We investigated if changes in the set of commonly used ingredients were mainly gradual or subject to fashion fluctuations. Applying our method to the data from the cook books revealed that overall, there is a clear continuity in cooking over the ages – cooking is knowledge that is passed down through generations, not something (re-)invented by each generation on its own. Looking at three main categories of ingredients separately (spices, animal products and vegetables), however, disclosed that all ingredients do not change according to the same pattern. While choice of animal products was very conservative, changing completely sequentially, changes in the choices of spices, but also of vegetables, were more unbounded. We hypothesize that this may be due a combination of fashion fluctuations and changes in availability due to contact with the Americas during our study time period. The presented method is also usable on other assemblage type data, and can thus be of utility for analyzing sequential archaeological data from the same area or other similarly organized material.

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