Wednesday, October 8, 2008

1,400 years old archaeological evidence of yucca found

Archaeological studies have revealed that the yucca, which is the main ingredient of some Central American dishes, has been parts of crops in El Salvador and the Maya region for more than 1,400 years.

The studies, undertaken at Joya de Ceren, El Salvador revealed archaeological material of a Maya village, including houses, fields, temples, warehouses and sweat lodges.

The "American Pompey", as Joya de Ceren is also known, was near Loma de Caldera Volcano; which erupted towards 600 AD, resulting in a human catastrophe.

Evidence of yucca plantations were found under 14 layers of ashes, declared Fabricio Valdivieso, coordinator of Archaeology Department of the El Salvador National Council for Culture and Art.

Joya de Copan is located near San Juan de Opico, El Salvador. In spite of have being discovered 30 years ago, archaeological excavations began in 1989, leaded by American archaeologist Payson Sheets.

The archaeological site provides crucial information about what Classic period Mayas cultivated and consumed.

"Studies reveal this was a Classic period community, covered with ashes of a volcano located 1.5 km away, which conserved intact the last chapter of human activity in the area, more than 1,400 years ago," informed the researchers.

The El Salvador Archaeology Department officer declared that tests performed in 2007 revealed this people consumed yucca.

Under the 14 layers of ashes, researchers were able to find imprints of vegetables, which cast molds revealed was yucca. Other produce included bean, maize, squash, cacao, guava and chili.


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