The history of cocoa is prolonged by 500 years
Recent studies carried out by several American universities have shown that cocoa was used in the preparation of fermented drinks between 1100 and 1000 years before JC.
Indeed, chemical tests carried out on pottery found in Puerto Escondido in Honduras showed that they contained cocoa.
Research scientists think however that the drinks were fermented, probably made from the pulp of fruit.
They base their opinion on the shape of the vases (see illustration) which prevents air from being blown in and thereby creating the froth that was so greatly appreciated by the Mayas and the Aztecs.
Moreover there is evidence to support this observation from the absence of bees' wax, which is characteristic where honey has been used, and of capsaicin, a compound of pepper; both honey and pepper being classic compounds used by the Mayas and the Aztecs to concoct their chocolate drink.
The use of cocoa dates back 4,000 years
The use of cocoa has just taken a leap back in history of about 1000 years.
Recent analyses of the sides of pots made out of ceramics, have shown that the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean were the first regions where cocoa was consumed in the form of a drink.
These ceramic pots are in fact vases which come from two different sites: the first is the Mokaya de Paso de la Amada site, near the Pacific coast at Chiapras and the second is the Olmec de El Manati site on the Gulf coast at Veracruz.
The results show that the Mokayas, who lived in the region of Soconusco on the Pacific Coast, were already using cocoa to make drinks between the years 1900 to 1500 BC.
The pre-Olmec population, who lived on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, used cocoa for making drinks around 1750 BC. This all goes to show that the Olmecs (1200 to 500 BC), who lived notably around the area of San Lorenzo, also knew about and used cocoa.
We therefore have proof that as far back as 1900 BC, cocoa was being drunk in Mexico, that means nearly 4,000 years ago.
The Olmecs and the Mokayas drunk cocoa just as the Mayas and the Aztecs did later on.