February 8, 2003 Cameron L.McNeil: "Chocolate, Flowers, Cattails and Corn:
Ritual Plant Use and Environmental Exploitation at Copan, Honduras"

     Paleoethnobotanical research at Copan is providing new information on
ritual plant use and environmental conditions during the Early Classic at
this important site. Residue analysis of funerary vessels and pollen
analysis of temple floors has illuminated important aspects of Maya ritual.
Analysis has shown that flowers, cacao, squash, cattails and corn had an
important role in religious rites at Copan. Furthermore, a sediment core
extracted from a bog near the site has greatly aided in the interpretation
of pollen distribution patterns in the ceremonial contexts.
     Cameron McNeil is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the Graduate
Center, CUNY. She has been the paleoethnobotanist on the University of
Pennsylvania's Early Copan Acropolis Project for the past four years. Her
dissertation research is focused on Maya ritual plant use and
human/environmental interaction at Copan.

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