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    Cacao was used by all members of Mayan society in their daily lives, not just royalty, study suggests

    Archaeologists analyzed pottery fragments from the time found in areas where people from different social classes lived in search of remains of the plant.

    All members of Mayan society used cocoa in their daily lives and not just royalty, as previously believed, according to an article published Monday in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    A group of archaeologists decided to analyze 54 ceramic fragments dating from 600 to 900 AD. C. pertaining to jars, mixing bowls, serving dishes, and vases that are believed to have been drinking vessels.

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    The pieces were found in civil residential and ceremonial areas of various sizes and status in the urban centers, hillsides, highlands and the valley around the ancient Mayan city of El Pilarlocated in the territory that today is the border between Guatemala and Belize.

    The researchers looked for a compound called theophylline, which is found in small amounts in the plant, to detect the presence of cocoa. They found that more than half of the samples examined contained it, regardless of the type of pottery or the social context in which it had been found.

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    a precious product

    They find the place where the Mayans grew their sacred cocoa groves

    “For a long time it was thought that cocoa for the Maya was exclusive to the elite,” explained Anabel Ford, an archaeologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara and lead author of the study. “We now know that this is not the case. Drinking cocoa was a luxury accessible to all. The important thing is that it was a requirement of the rituals associated with it,” she added.

    Cocoa, the plant from which chocolate comes, it was a sacred element for this ancient Mesoamerican culture, which consumed it in rituals and used it as currency. The cacao tree was related to Hun Hunahpu, the Mayan god of maize. Previous research found cacao in ceremonial vessels and elite burials, suggesting that its use was restricted to the upper classes.

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    Now, Ford and his colleagues intend to carry out an investigation to try to shed light on who was involved in the cultivation of cacao in Mayan society, since those people probably had greater access to that precious product.

    Did you find it interesting? Leave your opinion in the comments!

    Source: RT

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