Los Muertos

Information

Los Muertos is a platform mound site located south of the Salt River near Tempe, Arizona (Washburn et al. 2011:1637). It is an elite late Classic Hohokam site (AD 1300-1400) and was initially excavated by Frank Hamilton Cushing during the Hemenway Southwest Expedition in 1887-1888 (Washburn et al. 2011:1637). Later researchers confirmed the elite context of the site burials and the pottery used by Washburn et al. (2011:1637) for this chemical analysis was stored and preserved in the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. Washburn et al. (2011) tested pottery samples for cacao from a few other Southwestern tradition sites: Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo Del Arroyo, BC-51 (non-elite control samples) on the south side of the Chaco Wash in Chaco Canyon, a site along the Little Colorado in E. Arizona (non-elite control samples), and three small sites (non-elite control samples) 1-4 miles to the east and southwest of Cortez, Colorado.

Washburn et al. (2011:1637) "tested four beakers (equivalent in form to the Chaco cylinder jars but shorter), three pitchers, one bowl, one jar and one mug from 'Ruins' (house compounds) XIII, XIV, XIX, XX, and Refuse Mounds II, XIV and XIX". "Three of the four beakers (cylinder jars) we tested from Los Muertos contained theobromine" (Washburn et al. 2011:1638).

In this chemical analysis theobromine and theophylline were recorded when the "substance was present at 5 ng/mL or higher. At concentrations less than 5ng/mL, signal noise precluded detection with confidence" and "the same convention applies to caffeine except that the quantification limit was 10 ng/mL" (Washburn et al. 2011, Supplementary Material).

Mapping Coordinates Approximate.

ID Other ID Type Subtype Uncal BP (years) ± 1 σ (years) Median cal BP (years) Lower cal BP (years) Upper cal BP (years) δ13C Contaminated?
Sample 49 ChemicalSample Theobromine and Theophylline
Sample 50 ChemicalSample Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline
Sample 60 ChemicalSample Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline
Sample 61 ChemicalSample Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline
Sample 62 ChemicalSample Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline
Sample 63 ChemicalSample Caffeine
Sample 64 ChemicalSample Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline
Sample 66 ChemicalSample Caffeine
Sample 65 ChemicalSample Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline
Sample 48 ChemicalSample Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline

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References Cited

Washburn, Dorothy K., William N. Washburn and Petia A. Shipkova
     2011    The Prehistoric Drug Trade: Widespread Consumption of Cacao in Ancestral Pueblo and Hohokam Communities in the American Southwest. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(7):1634-1640.