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Seeds for the gods: chía (Salvia hispanica) in Teotihuacan ritual offerings

Author(s): Diana Martinez-Yrizar ; Carmen Cristina Adriano-Morán

Year: 2017

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Over the last decades, as a result of archaeological research inside of the Sun and the Moon pyramids in Teotihuacan, significant concentrations of chía (Salvia hispanica) seeds have been recovered in association with ritual contexts. This is particularly true in Offering 2, pit 59 of the Sun Pyramid and in Burial 6 of the Moon Pyramid. The archaeological artifacts were similar in both contexts, for example Tlaloc vessels, projectile points, pyrite disks and faunal remains, among others. In this paper we explore the possibility that the presence of chia seeds in these offerings could be related to worship of the water deity. In Teotihuacan iconography, priests are frequently observed scattering liquids with seeds (possibly chía) and this action has been interpreted as part of the ceremony to petition for water. This suggests that the chía plant and seeds display characteristics that represent attributes or can be associated with that deity.

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Seeds for the gods: chía (Salvia hispanica) in Teotihuacan ritual offerings. Diana Martinez-Yrizar, Carmen Cristina Adriano-Morán. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431439)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16976

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