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In his course Eating and Drinking in the Ancient WorldJohn Marston introduces students to what our ancestors ate a very long time ago. In fall 2017, the College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of archaeology and anthropology obtained grain used in ancient times and baked bread to give students a firsthand taste of a type of wheat that was domesticated 10,000 years ago.

When a colleague gifted him with an “interesting” mezcal from Mexico, he gave his students, emphasizing, “if they were of age,” a “very, very small taste in Dixie cups”—he points to a stack of the tiny cups stockpiled precariously in the corner of his office. The distilled alcoholic beverage is derived from the agave plant, which was one of the most sacred plants in pre-Spanish Mexico.

Most of Marston’s research focuses on the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and his office is a hodgepodge of gifts students and colleagues have given him. A canteen made out of a gourd and a corncob came from a student who’d been to Mexico.

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