Río Azul


Rio Azul is a Classic Maya site located in northeastern Guatemala. The vessels tested chemically for cacao were found underneath structure C1, an Early Classic funerary/ceremonial monument (tomb 19) found among the main ruins at the site (Hall et al. 1990). The authors analyzed the samples by testing for theobromine and caffeine, two of the signature chemical components in cacao. The organic materials recovered from the vessels tested were really well preserved. "The results demonstrate conclusively that vessel 15 contained cacao, based on detection of theobromine and caffeine in the vessel extract... Among the remaining four samples, all from tripod cylinder vases, two were found to have definite indications for theobromine only. A third had weak indications for theobromine only, and the fourth showed no indications for theobromine or caffeine" (Hall et al. 1990:142).

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?
Vessel 3 ChemicalSample Theobromine
Vessel 1 ChemicalSample Theobromine
Vessel 2 ChemicalSample Theobromine
Vessel 15 ChemicalSample Caffeine and Theobromine

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References Cited

Hall, Grant D., Stanley M. Tarka Jr., W. Jeffrey Hurst, David Stuart and Richard E. W. Adams
     1990    Cacao Residues in Ancient Maya Vessels from Rio Azul, Guatemala. American Antiquity 55(1):138-143.

Macri, M. J.
     2005    Nahua Loan Words from the Early Classic Period: Words for Cacao  Preparation on  a Rio Azul Ceramic Vessel. Ancient Mesoamerica 16:321-326.