Since 2011, I have directed the Belize River East Archaeology (BREA) project, which is a 6000 km2study area in the eastern half of the Belize watershed in Belize, Central America. According to sixteenth century Spanish ethnohistoric accounts, settlements in the BREA study area produced large quantities of cacao--the coveted chocolate bean--in all of the Maya Lowlands (Jones 1989). Currently,we know more about cacao consumption than its production of this orchard crop in the Maya area.We know from their art that cacao was a staple in ancient Maya feasts. However, it is elusive in the archaeological record as the pollen, phytoliths, and macrobotanical remains do not preserve well.

Publication Date

Spring 2014


University of New Hampshire

Document Type