What did people eat 9,000 years ago? Hunting cave reveals glimpses of diets in Mexico

MoiraI Ritter
Source - https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article271519622.html

Cave before excavatio fitted 1The Cueva de la Paloma dates back more than 9,000 years and was used by multiple groups of people in Mexico. Archivo PAROCVO-INAH
Now, archaeologists in Mexico might have a new addition: the prehistoric hunter-gatherer diet. Buried beneath thousands of years of sediment, experts recently unearthed the remains of several ancient groups dating back up to 9,000 years, according to a news release from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Too fittedCarving debris, including tools used by ancient groups, were buried beneath the cave’s floor. Archivo PAROCVO-INAH
The Cueva de la Paloma — which is about 300 miles southeast of Mexico City in the Oaxaca Valley — was first inhabited by hunter-gatherers on a seasonal basis as early as 7516 B.C., evidence shows. Archaeologists unearthed debris from basic tools, givings greater insight to how hunter-gatherers collected their meals.
Excavation cav fittedArchaeologists unearthed four distinct layers of sediment spanning several thousand years. Archivo PAROCVO-INAH
Cave painting fittedCave paintings covered one of the cave’s walls. Archivo PAROCVO-INAH
There were also traces of charred birds and turtles that had been exposed to fire and stoves with the remains of plants, the institute said. Of the plant remains found, archaeologists have identified pollen from about 40 mostly wild species, including yucca, chile and guava.
Pumpkin seed fittedPumpkin seed remains were among the diet indicators found inside the cave. PAROCVO-INAH Archive
Heart fittedA hearth with charred botanical remains inside, which experts believe to be agave leaves. PAROCVO-INAH Archive
More than 3,500 years later — between 1276 to 1390 A.D. — the cave was used by another group of Mexican people: the Zapotecs.
Po fittedThe Zapotecs used the cave to leave offerings, including this pitcher. Archivo PAROCVO-INAH
Also known as the “cloud people,” the Zapotecs used the cave to leave offering, such as a set of miniature vessels and an urn-like pitcher discovered by archaeologists, according to the institute.