The discovery was made on Mexico's Yucatán peninsula.
According to NPR
, archaeologists have concluded that ancient Mayans did not only drink chocolate flavored beverages, but also used it as a condiment or sauce on foods.
This changes earlier belief that chocolate was solely used as a beverage, typically for wealthy members of ancient societies in Mexico. The finding was made public by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History.
"This is the first time it has been found on a plate used for serving food," archaeologist Tomas Gallareta said, reported the Associated Press
. "It is unlikely that it was ground there (on the plate), because for that they probably used metates (grinding stones)."
reported the plates examined date back to approximately 500 B.C.
These are not the oldest traces of chocolate located in Mexico, as older samples were found in other dig sites dating 1,000 years earlier. The significance of this find is that it may provide insight as to the dietary customs in these eras. This leads experts to believe that there may be ancient roots that connect to modern traditional dishes eaten in Mexico.
"This indicates that the pre-Hispanic Maya may have eaten foods with cacao sauce, similar to mole," the anthropology institute said in a statement.
had reported in 2002 chocolate residue had been found in an ancient ceramic "teapot" and researchers said it had suggested that the Mayans and ancestors had been consuming chocolate as far back as 2,600 years.