Ritual drinks in the pre-Hispanic US Southwest and Mexican Northwest

Patricia L. Crown, Jiyan Gu, W. Jeffrey Hurst, Timothy J. Ward, Ardith D. Bravenec, Syed Ali, Laura Kebert, Marlaina Berch, Erin Redman, Patrick D. Lyons, Jamie Merewether, David A. Phillips, Lori S. Reed, Kyle Woodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Chemical analyses of organic residues in fragments of pottery from 18 sites in the US Southwest and Mexican Northwest reveal combinations of methylxanthines (caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline) indicative of stimulant drinks, probably concocted using either cacao or holly leaves and twigs. The results cover a time period from around A.D. 750-1400, and a spatial distribution from southern Colorado to northern Chihuahua. As with populations located throughout much of North and South America, groups in the US Southwest and Mexican Northwest likely consumed stimulant drinks in communal, ritual gatherings. The results have implications for economic and social relations among North American populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11436-11442
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015


  • Archaeology
  • Cacao
  • Holly
  • Ritual drinks
  • US Southwest/Mexican Northwest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Ritual drinks in the pre-Hispanic US Southwest and Mexican Northwest'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this