Taos Archaeological Society
A Tale of Two Species: How Chocolate and Macaws became Prestige Items in Mesoamerica, the American Southwest, and Europe
Chocolate and macaws were important in ritual and exchange in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest over a millennium before the Spanish entered the New World. The Spanish rapidly adapted and adopted these commodities into their own economic system. Far from their tropical home, chocolate and macaws spread through Europe, becoming status symbols of the European elite. How did a plant and a bird become prestige items in so many different cultures? Dr. Crown draws on archaeological research and art history to show how the elite on two continents used these two species as luxury items, displaying both the species and images of them over many centuries. She will include recent results from NSF-funded research to show how chocolate drinks became important in ceremonial life in the American Southwest, while placing this consumption in a broader global context.
Patricia L. Crown is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at UNM, with a specialty in southwestern archaeology. Dr. Crown has conducted field investigations in the Ancestral Pueblo, Mogollon, and Hohokam areas of the American Southwest; she recently completed reexcavations of a room in Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon. With Jeffrey Hurst of the Hershey Company, she discovered the first prehispanic cacao (chocolate) north of the Mexican border in ceramics from Pueblo Bonito. Her books have included Chaco and Hohokam, Social Violence in the Prehispanic Southwest, Ceramic Production in the American Southwest, Ceramics and Ideology: Salado Polychrome Pottery and Women and Men in the Prehispanic Southwest: Labor, Power, and Prestige.
Join other TAS members and our speaker for Dinner at 5PM
Guadalajara Grill South, 1384 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos, across from Ace Hardware.
Arrive between 5:00 and 5:30 PM, place your order at the front, and take your number to the back room. No reservations needed!
PO Box 143
Taos, NM, 87571