Navigation Links
Chocolate Craving Has Ancient Roots
Date:11/16/2007

Archaeologists find traces of the sweet in pottery more than 3,000 years old

FRIDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Archaeologists say they've found one of the oldest traces ever of human chocolate consumption in pottery vessels more than 3,000 years old.

The jugs -- thought to have contained a fermented chocolate concoction -- date from 1150 B.C. and were used by Mesoamerican people in what is now Puerto Escondido, Honduras.

"It appears to have been used in a beverage, which was made from the pulp of the chocolate fruit. Later, they started to focus on the bean itself," said researcher Patrick McGovern, a senior research scientist and associate professor of anthropology at the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania Museum.

The cacao drink appears to have been fermented and was mildly alcoholic, containing about 5 percent alcohol, McGovern said. These ancient peoples apparently domesticated the cacao (chocolate) tree to produce these drinks, commonly consumed in ceremonies that marked weddings and births.

The findings were published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While McGovern's team claimed the find represented the "earliest cacao beverages" found, not everyone agreed.

"Chocolate is incredibly old in that part of the world [Mesoamerica]," said Michael D. Coe, the emeritus professor of anthropology at Yale University and co-author of The True History of Chocolate.

Newer studies have found even older chocolate on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Coe said. "The earliest sample is 1,200 years older than what this team reports. It looks like chocolate is almost 4,000 years old in that part of the world," Coe added.

Study lead author John S. Henderson, a professor of anthropology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., said that while he wasn't aware of the new data Coe cites, "it is very possible" that an older use of cacao had been found.

McGovern's team based their conclusion on finding traces of the chemical theobromine, a chemical found only in cacao plants, in pottery vessels used to hold liquids.

It is not clear what the drink looked like or how it tasted, McGovern said. But it would have had a sweet chocolate taste, he said. "Later, when the drink was being made from the bean, other things such as chilies, honey, and flowers and spices were added," he said.

Chocolate drinks made from the cacao bean were later used by the Mayans and Aztecs, McGovern noted.

Henderson said the findings pointed to the haphazard way customs developed and changed over time.

He argued that it was significant that the first use of chocolate was sourced and fermented from the plant's pulp. If this is true, then the way the Aztecs and others used chocolate, as well as the modern chocolate industry, "becomes an accident. An unintended consequence of early beer brewing," he noted.

"It makes a nice example that important developments are not self-consciously done by intended result," Henderson added.

McGovern said his team had also found the oldest known alcoholic beverage in the world. It came from China and dates from 7000 B.C., he said. The drink was made from rice, honey and hawthorn, or wild grape.

It appears that "humans are interested in finding anything that will ferment," McGovern said.

More information

For more on the history of chocolate, visit The Field Museum.



SOURCES: Patrick McGovern, Ph.D., senior research scientist, associate professor, anthropology, Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia; John S. Henderson, Ph.D., professor, anthropology, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Michael D. Coe, Ph.D., Charles J. MacCurdy, professor, anthropology, emeritus, Yale University, New Haven, Conn., co-author, The True History of Chocolate; Nov. 12-16, 2007, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


'/>"/>
Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. A chocolate cookie a day puts 20 pounds on an energetically-balanced kid in 4 years
2. Nice but naughty -- our addiction to chocolate
3. Chocolate Milk: The Official Drink of Halloween
4. Study finds that people are programmed to love chocolate
5. Chocolate Lovers May Be Hard-Wired That Way
6. Heart Chocolate(TM) With CM-X(TM) is Loved by Chocolate Connoisseurs and Diabetics Alike
7. Chocolate Has Sweet Effect on Blood Flow
8. Genes, brain chemistry may dictate nicotine cravings, says CU-Boulder study
9. $2.2M NIH grant to develop drugs to suppress cocaine cravings
10. Ancient mechanism for coping with stresses also gives cancer a boost
11. 454 Sequencing(TM): Science Paper Describes a Novel, Highly Efficient Method of Sequencing Ancient DNA; Sequences the Mitochondria of 10 Individual Mammoths to Prove It
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Chocolate Craving Has Ancient Roots
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... PurhealthRX , a leading Health ... technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize the rapidly growing ... form that can be easily incorporated into liquid products, while reducing costs to end ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple Rehab ... services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster drill ... Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional women, brought together some of ... their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. The event was livestreamed with ... 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, click here . , ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor ... on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning ... innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of ... Brink” is the creation of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his ... veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. Following his career as a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the combined central specialty ... pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime), today officially ... the unveiling of new signage at its headquarters in ... at a few other company-owned facilities across the country. ... some of whom will begin to see the AllianceRx ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... Sept. 28, 2017 Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ... conference call and webcast on Friday, November 3, 2017, ... and ending at approximately 8:30 a.m. (CDT) / 9:30 ... company,s 2017 financial performance and guidance for 2018, Hill-Rom ... to enhance operational performance, and long-range financial outlook through ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... Israel and NEW YORK , Sept. 27, ... with mobile health and big data solutions, today announced that its MyDario ... Please check your local TV listings for when The Dr. Oz Show ... ... season this month. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: