Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Heather B. Trigg

Second Advisor

Douglas Bolender

Third Advisor

David B. Landon


The archaeological site of LA 20,000 is an early colonial Spanish estancia, or ranch, in New Mexico that was occupied between A.D. 1630 to 1680. Spanish estancias became the homes and work spaces for people with a wide range of cultural backgrounds. In this thesis, the author analyses the ceramics and ground stone assemblage of LA 20,000 to understand the daily practice of cuisine on this rural frontier. Cuisine has important symbolic components related to an individual’s identity. Through the practice of cuisine, inhabitants consumed foods that fit conceptions of acceptability, enacted preparation and cooking methods that were taught intergenerationally, and consumed meals in a manner that befitted their social status. The results from this thesis indicate that while the inhabitants attempted to eat food that fit Spanish conceptions of acceptability, the food production and cooking methods primarily drew from practices associated with Native American and Pueblo peoples. However, the food serving and consumption practices were strongly associated with curating a high-status Spanish identity. Through the practice of cuisine, individuals at LA 20,000 recreated familiar tastes and practices, maintained difference with other social groups, and reinforced cultural identity.