Marston publishes first archaeological evidence for maize nixtamalization

A new article in the Journal of Archaeological Science, co-authored by Marston, provides the first direct archaeological evidence for maize nixtamalization. Samples from two chultunes, rock-carved pits, from the Classic Maya site of San Bartolo, Guatemala, yielded abundant quantities of starch spherulites, which Marston and EAL alumna Emily Johnson (CAS ’17) previously identified as a product of nixtamalization. Even more exciting, Marston and co-authors found parasite eggs in the same deposits, indicating these chultunes were used as latrines, leading to the conclusion that nejayote, the caustic liquid that is a by-product of nixtamalization, may have been used to “flush” these toilets. Read more about it here (free until July 5)!

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