Flowering plants of the genus Capsicum are usually referred to as chili peppers. There are relatively few sites in Mesoamerica, Central America, and South America that contain remains of Capsicum, and therefore, we know little about how pre-Columbian people used chili peppers in those regions. In a new study, archaeologists used chemical extractions to reveal the presence of chili residues in pottery vessels from Chiapa de Corzo in southern Mexico. Some of these vessels were over 2,000 years old, dating from 400 BC to 300 CE. The scientists found chili residue in multiple types of jars and vessels, which suggests that Mixe-Zoquean and Maya cultures may have been using chili peppers for many different culinary purposes. For instance, Capsicum was found in a vessel called a sprouted jar, which is used for pouring a liquid into another container, and the scholars suggest that chili peppers may have been used to prepare spicy beverages or dining condiments.

Travel to Chiapa de Corzo on Capital Cities of the Ancient Maya with Far Horizons!