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Mokaya were pre-Olmec cultures of the Soconusco region in Mexico and parts of the Pacific coast of western Guatemala, an archaeological culture that developed a number of Mesoamerica’s earliest-known sedentary settlements.

The Soconusco region is generally divided by archaeologists into three adjacent zones along the coast—the Lower Río Naranjo region (along the Pacific coast of western Guatemala), Acapetahua, and Mazatán (both on the Pacific coast of modern-day Chiapas, Mexico). The term Mokaya was coined by archaeologists to mean "corn people" in an early form of the Mixe–Zoquean language, which the Mokaya supposedly spoke.[1] The Mokaya are thought to have been among the first cultures in Mesoamerica to develop a hierarchical society, which arose in the Early Formative (or Preclassic) period of Mesoamerican chronology, at a time (late 2nd millennium BCE) slightly before similar traits were evident among the early Olmec centers of the Gulf Coast region.

Around 1900 BC one of the dozen species of cacao was carried from the upper Amazon and domesticated by the Mokaya.[2] A Mokaya archaeological site provides evidence of cacao beverages dating to 1900 BC.[3]


  1. ^ Pool 2007
  2. ^ Watson, Traci (22 January 2013). "Earliest Evidence of Chocolate in North America". Science. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Terry G. Powis, W. Jeffrey Hurst, María del Carmen Rodríguez, Ponciano Ortíz C., Michael Blake, David Cheetham, Michael D. Coe & John G. Hodgson (December 2007). "Oldest chocolate in the New World". Antiquity 81 (314). ISSN 0003-598X.


Clark, John E.; Michael Blake (1996). "The Power of Prestige: Competitive Generosity and the Emergence of Rank Societies in Lowland Mesoamerica". In Robert W. Preucel and Ian Hodder (eds.). Contemporary Archaeology in Theory (4th [2004] reprinting, pbk ed.). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 258–281. ISBN 0-631-19559-9. OCLC 34243912.  B. Clark & Pye, Revista Pueblos y fronteras Digital 2006
Pool, Christopher A. (2007). Olmec Archaeology and Early Mesoamerica. Cambridge World Archaeology series. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-78882-3. OCLC 68965709.