Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History: What Chocolate-Drinking Jars Tell Indigenous Potters Now

Departmental News

Posted:  Aug 17, 2020 - 12:00pm

When an archaeologist found traces of cacao residue in Puebloan cylinder drinking jars a decade ago, the implications were huge. Her discovery of chocolate proved that Southwestern desert dwellers in Chaco Canyon had been trading with tropical Mesoamerican cacao-harvesters, like the Maya, as far back as 900 CE.

 But the drinking vessels are as significant as the chocolate hidden inside them. They are living proof of a dynamic pottery-making tradition that continues in descendant tribes of the Chaco Canyon Puebloans today.  Read the full article here