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Maya Chocolate Pots

This beautiful vessel of which type has been commonly referred to as a “Chocolate Pot”, and which is described as a drinking cup for the consumption of liquid cacao beverages, was found in the ruins of the ancient city of Uxul, Mexico in 2012.


In 2018, Cambridge University reported after performing residue testing on similar vessels, that “chocolate” vessels were never used for the consumption of liquid cacao beverages.


They write, “The residue analyses demonstrated that…the ornate Classic-period Maya cylinder vessels that have been interpreted for the past 30 years as vessels from which to drink chocolate cannot have had that use, intended or actual…


Not only were the cylinders never meant to hold liquid cacao, they were instead likely functioning as writs or deeds that held dried cacao beans.


The highly ornate and labeled cylinders were a powerful visual element. They were both a container and visible symbol related to some aspect of the foods of the gods, exclusive to the elites and ritually bound.


The owner of the vessel thereby has the privilege to have cacao available. The vessel and/or content is indicating the bearer's status, even if that vessel has never been “used.”


While the Maya no doubt drank cacoa, not all Maya vessels were drinking cups.


Cover Image: Cup excavated at Uxul, Mexico. The inscription in hieroglyphics reads, “This is the cup of the young man/prince”.







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