2,500-Year-Old Chocolate Trace Found

Archaeologists said on Thursday that they found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate in Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula—suggesting it may have been used as a spice or a condiment. Experts have long believed that Mayans and other pre-Hispanic cultures crushed cacao beans and pods and mixed them with liquids and drank chocolate as a beverage. But this discovery expands that hypothesis and suggests that traditional Mexican dishes, such as mole, may have had their roots in ancient cultures. This discovery, announced this week by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, dates back to 500 B.C., but it’s not the oldest chocolate discovered: beverage vessels have been found to the west of the Yucatán and other sites in Chiapas bearing traces that are 1,000 years older.