Ancient 'Black Drink' Surprises Archeologists

Beverage suggests America had trade network
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2012 5:01 PM CDT
Updated Aug 11, 2012 7:00 PM CDT
Ancient 'Black Drink' Surprises Archeologists
Archeologists made an exciting discovery about an ancient beverage.   (Shutterstock)

It turns out our ancestors liked their caffeine buzz, too. Archeologists studying the ancient city Cahokia have located what they believe is evidence of a likely sacred beverage known as "black drink," which European settlers exploring the southeast US in the 1600s described in writing. What's surprising is that the caffeinated drink turned up outside of St. Louis, where the Cahokia resided, about 250 miles away from where the plant species (a type of holly) used to make the drink once existed, reports Wired Science.

Archeologists say that the discovery of the drink so far north is evidence of the trade system that existed in North America hundreds of years before Europeans arrived. Residue from the drink was found in mug-like beakers carved with designs that suggest the beverage was used in a sacred way. The settlers' records suggest that the black, caffeinated drink was part of a purification ritual that also involved dancing and vomiting. (More ancient history stories.)

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