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