A Mayan kitchen secret discovered in latrines

Nearly 3,000 years ago, the Maya invented a culinary process to decouple the nutritional properties of corn. This millennial tradition is analyzed … thanks to the latrines in Guatemala.

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Knowing the cultural practices of the civilizations that preceded us goes through the analysis of everyday objects, writings, artistic representations … and through the analysis, less known, less known. quite rich and relevant latrines ! Archaeologists have recently published a study in the Journal of Archaeological Science about Mayan latrines. These were discovered at the San Bartolo site in Guatemala and date from the classical period, i.e. to the VIIIe and IXe centuries BC They are the oldest evidence of the existence of Mayan toilets in the world.

Lime water for cooking and hunting

Archaeologists first discovered œufs de tapewormindicating that the infected population must have suffered from diarrhea and states of weakness. They also discovered that the “hunt” for latrines was fired with water from lime. What is more intriguing yet is that this solution alkaline was already used at the time by the Mayans for the nixtamalization process, residues of which were found in the latrines. This process consisted of soaking and cooking grains of but in a solution at basic pH it was probably used to weaken the hull of the grains.

This transformation of physical properties is still practiced today to eat the grains of but in a soup or to grind them and make a dough, used for tortillas and tamales. This practice also increased access to calcium and to the vitamin B3 from the corn and the dating of this millennial process of Central America allows to apprehend one of the oldest culinary traditions of the pre-Hispanic civilizations of this continent.

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