Remains of Ancient Royal Kitchen Found in Mayan City of Kabah
Published: 12:11 PM - 11-19-11
Mexico - Researchers at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH, Mexico) have been excavating the area for a year, searching for evidence to determine the activities that took place in what was the royal residence at Kabah. The sector was an area where the elite of the ancient Mayan city lived.
The area occupied by the old kitchen is 40 metres long by 14 metres wide. In this place, the researchers found the remains of masonry architecture, traces of fireplaces, large amounts of pottery and stone artifacts whose age is estimated at over a thousand years.
According to the experts, (INAH, in Spanish), the age of the archaeological material discovered covers the years 750-950 AD, the period when the pre-Hispanic city reached its highest development.
The arrangement of the objects found shows that within the royal kitchen there were spaces for different functions: in two spaces they found remains of pottery vessels up to 70 cm in diameter, in surrounding areas they found cooking tools, and in other sectors, the remains of stone fireplaces.
Due to the large number of fragments found, the archaeologists believe that food for many people was prepared at this place.
On a tour the archaeologists offered to the press to show the finding, the researchers detailed that they have located more than 30,000 pieces of pottery and 70 stone artifacts to butcher animals and process vegetables for consumption. Those include metates (mealing stones) metate hands, hammers, knives, blades and scrapers, as well as traces of masonry and other decayed materials.
Lourdes Toscano, archaeologist of INAH, explained that the pottery found at Kabah, and previously discovered in the interior of palaces in the mountainous region of Yucatan, is similar to that found in common houses. However, the main difference between them is the quantity and size of the vessels.
"We believe that large amounts of food were cooked in the palaces, so the dishes were larger, and they had more tools of various forms for different uses." said Toscan.
Toscano explained that the archaeological investigation of the royal kitchen of Kabah has been assisted by biochemical studies conducted by specialists from the Department of Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Yucatan.
They were able to confirm the existence of two areas of cooking fireplaces with evidence of organic matter, which probably corresponds to the remains of animals, but have not been able to identify the species because they only found a very small piece of bone.
Toscano said that one of the big questions for researchers is to know why they have not found more bones of animals. Since in this place large volumes of food were cooked, more bone waste could be expected.
She proposed as an explanation the possibility that waste from the kitchen was not discarded at or near the place:
"This was a food preparation area where waste was not maintained. Chances are that there are dumping sites nearby."
This hypothesis has led the team of archaeologists to expand the excavations in search of waste disposal sites.
In the archaeological site of Kabah, Yucatan, INAH researchers found the space where food for the elite of this Maya city was prepared.
The ancient Mayan city of Kabah is located 22 kilometers from the archaeological site of Uxmal, in the mountainous region of Puuc. The site is located 140 km south of Merida, the Yucatan state capital. Both Uxmal and Kabah are popular tourist destinations. The ruins are spread over a large area on both sides of Highway 261. Numerous structures are rarely visited because they are in remote locations or are still covered by jungle.
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