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Residue Analysis for Cacao in Southeastern Utah Ancestral Puebloan Ceramics, Montezuma Canyon, Utah

Author(s): Glenna Nielsen-Grimm ; Richard Terry ; Bryce Brown ; Deanne Matheny ; Ray Matheny

Year: 2017

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In 2009, theobromine, a biomarker for Theobroma cacao, was found and reported in an analysis of cylindrical vessels from Chaco Canyon, New Mexico (Crown and Hurst 2009). Washburn's positive results from ceramics recovered from Brew's excavations at Alkali Ridge, Utah (Washburn et al. 2013) dating to the Pueblo I period, pushed the time depth of cacao use centuries earlier than the findings from Chaco Canyon. They suggest cacao was brought from the south as a journey food and later used as a food drink (Washburn et al. 2013:2012). They found theobromine/caffeine signatures in Abajo Red-on-Orange and other ceramics. Recent research (Crown et al. 2015) suggests the pre-Hispanic Southwest use of cacao and holly-based drinks. Since 2013, we have tested ceramics from excavated locations in Montezuma Canyon, Utah, and an early collection of whole vessels from the Natural History Museum of Utah. We have positive results from residue tests of gray ware vessels, black-on-white bowls, redware bowls, and mugs. We believe we have developed procedures that address contamination of objects selected for residue analysis. Implications of this research are useful to researchers considering trade with, and influence of, prehistoric Mexican cultures on prehistoric Southwest populations.

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Residue Analysis for Cacao in Southeastern Utah Ancestral Puebloan Ceramics, Montezuma Canyon, Utah. Glenna Nielsen-Grimm, Richard Terry, Bryce Brown, Deanne Matheny, Ray Matheny. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430417)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15370

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America