It’s a good thing one of our ancestors was too lazy to do the dishes: A group of archaeologists in Mexico has just discovered traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate left on a plate excavated in the Yucatan peninsula.
It's the first time researchers have come across ‘antique’ chocolate residue on a plate, rather than a cup. They speculate that the sweet may have been used as a condiment or sauce on solid food.
“This is the first time it has been found on a plate used for serving food,'' archaeologist Tomas Gallareta told the AP.
The plate fragments, dating to around 500BC, are not the oldest chocolate traces ever found in Mexico. Beverage vessels unearthed at Gulf coast sites of the Olmec culture have yielded traces some 1,000 years older.
It was previously believed that cacao beans were used in pre-Hispanic cultures as a beverage reserved for the elite.
This latest discovery made by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History sheds new light on the antiquarian use of chocolate. It also helps explain the history of ancient Mexican cuisine, highlighting the key role chocolate may have played in their diet.
“This indicates that the pre-Hispanic Maya may have eaten foods with cacao sauce, similar to mole,'' the Institute said in a statement.