Archeologists from University of South Florida have found an extremely rare ‘death vase’ while unearthing a palace in north western Honduras. The pyramid shaped palace was discovered in Palmarejo valley. Though the scientists are not sure whether its inhabitants were ethnic Maya or any other race influenced by Maya culture yet the contents of the vase have solved a long standing mystery of ancient rituals. After an investigation, pollen of corn, cocoa and false ipecac have been detected in soil samples,found in and around the vase. Ipecac causes severe nausea when eaten and cacao seeds were used in spicy drink during ancient religious ceremony. Experimental results imply that the vase may have been used in ancient rites to worship the ancestors and included food offerings, chocolate enemas etc induced by vomiting.
Christian Wells, the lead scientist says,
According to the Maya rituals the way to contact with the dead was to have vision; one can had this vision either by cutting himself or by having very powerful cacao enema.
Probably the beverage that the vase likely held may have been drunk by a worshipper and thus he could have had visions to communicate with the ancestors, experts say. It’s also possible that they left it as the offering to the dead persons.
A little larger than a coffee mug, the marble vase was found from a 1400-years-old grave under the palace.The vase is decorated with sculpted scrolls and overlapping tiles which resemble serpent scales and its handles are curved like the head of a leaf-nose bat. According to the experts, the vase was added to the grave after 100 years of the burial of a person. Probably they did this for honoring that ancestor. The pollen found with the vase seems consistent with ceremonial drinks used in ancient Mesoamerica. Wells’ team infers that the person buried beneath the palace was likely to be an ancestor figure whose death marked the end of an era.