Chocolate at Chaco Canyon: a ceremonial beverage heads north
Look father south and west, to Pueblo Bonito in northwestern New Mexico's Chaco Canyon. The so-called Chaco Culture of pueblo dwellers thrived in the region between 860 and 1128 A.D. And new evidence suggests that some of them took a shine to cacao, at least for ceremonial purposes.
Anthropologist Patricia Crown, from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and a colleague from, yes, the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition in Hershey, Pa., analyzed pot shards from the pueblo and found traces of theobromine, a compound that signals the presence of cacao. The results appear in this week's "early edition" of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.