Connect with us

Archaeology

Study finds evidence of Mesoamericans drinking tobacco during healing rituals

Published

on

A new study, published in the journal Antiquity, has found traces of nicotine in ceramic vessels discovered at the ancient city of Cotzumalhuapa.

Cotzumalhuapa was a Maya polity located near the town of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa in southern Guatemala.

Cotzumalhuapa was a major urban centre spanning over 10 square kilometres, encompassing the sites of El Baúl, Bilbao, and El Castillo, in addition to numerous small settlements and farmsteads.

The archaeological zone mostly dates from the Late Classic period in Mesoamerican chronology, however, the archaeological record also indicates continuous occupation from the Middle Preclassic period.

An analysis of ceramic vases found at Cotzumalhuapa near the acropolis of El Baúl has revealed the chemical residue of nicotine, suggesting that the vessels were used for ritual and therapeutic purposes. No traces of cacao, chili peppers, and achiote (a food dye and condiment) were found, however, three of the vessels came back positive for nicotine.

Image Credit : Antiquity

The use of tobacco in Mesoamerican rituals is widely known from written sources and depictions of tobacco leaves on sculptures and frescoes. “We knew that tobacco was a very important substance employed for a variety of ritual and therapeutic purposes in ancient Mesoamerica and across the New World”, says co-author of the research Dr Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos from Yale University.

The discovery was made by a team of researchers from Yale University and Lehman College of The City University. “We hoped that analysis of residues inside these well-preserved vessels would reveal details about the use of plants in ritual activities”, states Dr Chinchilla Mazariegos.

The form of the vessels suggest that they were used to contain liquid, indicating that tobacco was likely consumed as a liquid infusion. According to the study: “This is clear archaeological evidence for tobacco use in Mesoamerica, suggesting that the drinking of tobacco infusions may have been practiced together with smoking or sniffing.”

The widespread use of tobacco for both ritual and therapeutic purposes (the two were almost certainly linked) is well-documented from early colonial to modern times, but the results indicate that this was taking place centuries earlier.

Header Image Credit : Antiquity

Sources : Antiquity – Residue analysis suggests ritual use of tobacco at the ancient Mesoamerican city of Cotzumalhuapa, Guatemala – Adam Negrin, Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, Cameron L. McNeil, W. Jeffrey Hurst & Edward J. Kennelly. https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2024.13

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

Continue Reading

Archaeology

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

Published

on

By

Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.

In a recent study conducted by the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) of Saxony-Anhalt, archaeologists are employing various scientific methods to offer new insights into the site’s ritual and settlement landscape.

The study has identified house locations of the Corded Ware culture (26th to 23rd century BC), and an associated settlement pit containing ceramic sherds, an axe head and flint blades. Until now, Corded Ware settlement could only be attributed to individual finds that had been relocated, and not to actual structures on the site.

Also associated with the Corded Ware culture is a storage area with 78 grain silo pits that held various types of gain, including wheat, barley, and spelt. Archaeologists already know that Corded Ware people lived on a balanced diet with animal products, further indicated by drinking vessels from burials at Ringheiligtum Pömmelte that contained traces of dairy products.

While the scientific analyses and the interpretation of the results with various specialists continue, excavations at Pömmelte will last until mid-July 2024.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

Continue Reading

Archaeology

3,400-year-old shipwreck found with cargo mostly intact

Published

on

By

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit have discovered a 3,400-year-old shipwreck with the cargo mostly intact.

The site was first identified during an underwater survey by Energean, an energy company searching for natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea Floor.

This led to the discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo at a depth of 1.8 kilometers, along with its cargo that consists of Late Bronze Age Canaanite storage vessels.

IAA archaeologists, in collaboration with Energean, have used the deep sea exploratory vessel, “Energean Star” to conduct a visual inspection of the wreck site. This has revealed hundreds of ceramic vessels on the seabed, and a muddy layer which likely conceals a second layer and the wooden beams of the ship.

Jacob Sharvit, Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit, explains, “The ship seems to have sunk in crisis, either due to a storm or to an attempted piracy attack – a well-known occurrence in the Late Bronze Age. This is both the first and the oldest ship found in the Eastern Mediterranean deep sea, ninety kilometres from the nearest shore.”

Image Credit : IAA

Only two other ships from this period have been found – the boat from Cape Gelidonya and the Uluburun boat; both found off the Turkish coast. Both ships were found near the shore, suggesting that shipping routes followed the coastline between ports. However, this new discovery changes the understanding of ancient marine trade, demonstrating that ancient shipping also extended into deep waters.

“The ship is preserved at such a great depth that time has frozen since the moment of disaster – its body and contexts have not been disturbed by human hand (divers, fishermen, etc.); nor affected by waves and currents which do impact shipwrecks in shallower waters,” added Sharvit.

Header Image Credit : IAA

Sources : Israel Antiquities Authority

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

Continue Reading

Trending

Generated by Feedzy