Archaeologist Patricia Crown presents The History and Use of Chocolate in Chaco Canyon and Beyond at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. With collaborator Jeffrey Hurst, she discovered the first evidence for chocolate residues north of the Mexican border in Chaco Canyon.

Registration for the event is online. Admission is by donation. Space is limited so registration is required. 

A decade of research on chocolate consumption in Chaco Canyon and other parts of North and South America has revealed new insights into the long history of cacao use in ritual and exchange. The latest study shows that cacao was domesticated around 5,000 years ago in South America, with use spreading from there into Mesoamerica and eventually into what's now the Southwestern United States and Northwest Mexico. Methods of preparation and consumption varied, but cacao drinks and the associated paraphernalia provide important evidence for long-distance movement of food and cuisine. In Chaco, shifting shapes of drinking vessels indicate adoption of foreign forms, their use in competitive consumption events, followed by the dramatic rejection of the new forms.

This event is part of the Museum’s Voice in Science lecture series. Lectures are in-person at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and are free with registration. Donations will be suggested at the door. 

Crown is recently retired from the University of New Mexico, where she was Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. Professional recognition and honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the A.V. Kidder Award from American Anthropological Association, and the Society of American Archaeology Award for Excellence in Ceramic Research. Crown is the author of more than 60 articles and books, including a recently completed edited volume The House of the Cylinder Jars: Room 28 at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, published by UNM Press.

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