Document Detail

Cacao usage by the earliest Maya civilization.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12124611     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The Maya archaeological site at Colha in northern Belize, Central America, has yielded several spouted ceramic vessels that contain residues from the preparation of food and beverages. Here we analyse dry residue samples by using high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to atmospheric-pressure chemical-ionization mass spectrometry, and show that chocolate (Theobroma cacao) was consumed by the Preclassic Maya as early as 600 bc, pushing back the earliest chemical evidence of cacao use by some 1,000 years. Our application of this new and highly sensitive analytical technique could be extended to the identification of other ancient foods and beverages.
W Jeffrey Hurst; Stanley M Tarka; Terry G Powis; Fred Valdez; Thomas R Hester
Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature     Volume:  418     ISSN:  0028-0836     ISO Abbreviation:  Nature     Publication Date:  2002 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-07-18     Completed Date:  2002-08-09     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410462     Medline TA:  Nature     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  289-90     Citation Subset:  IM    
Hershey Foods Technical Center, PO Box 805, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Archaeology / methods
Beverages / history*
Cacao / chemistry,  history*
Ceramics / history
Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
History, Ancient
Mass Spectrometry
Theobromine / analysis
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Ceramics; 83-67-0/Theobromine

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