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Montegrande Temple, Jaen, Peru

Archaeological site located in Jaén, Peru
reveals that the oldest Cacao in the world is found in this area

There are two temples between Peru and Ecuador, where remains of cacao have been found.

The most ancient cacao

The civilization that built the temples in Peru and Ecuador is more than five thousand years old and would be the birthplace of cacao. Its remains are located in the binational Chinchipe-Marañón river basin. A spiral temple was discovered in Montegrande, Peru and another in Palanda, Ecuador.

Montegrande temple in Jaen, Cajamarca, Peru

A nine-year investigation presents the ceremonial temple of Montegrande, as part of the discovery of a culture that developed on the border of Peru and Ecuador, and reveals that the oldest cacao in the world is found in this area. The archaeologist believes that the temple has the shape of a curled serpent, an important symbol found in nearby sites. This temple proves that cacao was used for ritual and ceremonial purposes in ancient Peru.

The site is 5,000 years old, it dates back to 3,000 BC.

Research began in 2009, thanks to financial support from the Andean Community of Nations. Archaeological research in Peru was led by archaeologist Quirino Olivera.

"Archaeological evidence indicates that it would be found in the upper part of the binational Chinchipe-Marañon basin, evidence of 2,000 years before the Olmecs; that is, 5,500 years old. That makes it the oldest cacao in the world," says Olivera, who believes that this culture should be called Marañón, in honor of the most important course of the Amazon.

Cacao, the Amazonian fruit had already been domesticated 5,500 years ago in the Chinchipe river basin, which runs between Ecuador and Peru reaching the Marañon river. The temple is attributed to a culture that has been called Mayo-Chinchipe, civilizations developed in the Amazon jungle.

Palanda Is in the Ecuadorian province of Zamora Chinchipe, was excavated by Francisco Valdez and Ceremonial vessels were found with traces of Cacao.  The result of the carbon 14 dating offers a data that changes everything: the origin of the remains is 5,500 years ago, between 3500 and 3350 BC.

That culture gave cacao a ceremonial use and a mystical character 1,500 years before that happened in Mesoamerica.

"Peru has the highest genetic biodiversity of Cacao in the world. Six of the ten genetic clusters of Cacao in the world are found in Peru".


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