Developing a Spanish-Atlantic identity: an archaeological investigation of domestic ceramics and dining in 18th-century Spain and Spanish Florida
Ness, Kathryn Lee
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In this dissertation, I explore issues of cultural exchange and identity among 18th-century Spaniards and Spanish Americans via archaeological remains and documentary evidence. These were years of intense cultural refashioning, on both sides of the Atlantic. In Spain, the advent of the French-based Bourbon dynasty resulted in the spread of French fashions which infiltrated and altered notions of Spanish social identity. Spanish Floridians, already confronting an evolving American identity, had to amalgamate the changes occurring in the homeland. New ceramic forms, technology, and aesthetics reflect how people throughout the Spanish Atlantic remade their lifestyles, partially in each other's image. I examine ceramics from three 18th-century domestic sites: La Calle Corredera in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, and the Francisco Ponce de León and Juan de Salas households in St. Augustine, Florida. To enable direct comparison between Spain and Florida, I developed a new classification system that encompassed forms found in both places, linked to references in contemporary dictionaries, probate inventories, and cookbooks. This approach revealed almost simultaneous change on both sides of the Atlantic, demonstrating rapid exchange and shared tastes and behaviors. At all three sites, people adopted new culinary styles and table settings to match. The rising popularity of French cuisine led people to use fewer bowls and more flat plates, suggesting a diminished role for traditional stews. In Spain, new cup and saucer forms emerged to accommodate American chocolate. On both sides of the Spanish Atlantic, French- and English-inspired matching sets of dishes and visually distinctive Mexican ceramics reflected changing aesthetics. At the same time, Spaniards and Spanish Americans continued using older vessel forms for cooking as well as personal hygiene, suggesting a degree of cultural continuity in some areas of life. In the 18th century, the Spanish Atlantic was a zone of busy cultural exchange. St. Augustinians followed Spanish fashions to declare their heritage while their Spanish counterparts emphasized their trans-Atlantic reach by incorporating American goods into their own lives. In this dynamic place and time, native Spaniards and Spanish Americans built a common cultural identity by simultaneously maintaining traditions and embracing change.