The Maya Practiced Beekeeping As Far Back As 3,000 Years Ago, And Some Of Their Bee Cultivation Tools Were Recently Discovered

diegograndi - - illustrative purposes only

The ancient Maya practiced beekeeping in the Yucatán Peninsula as far back as 3,000 years ago. Archaeologists in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo have discovered some tools the Maya used for their cultivation of bees.

The finds were of three limestone lids that prevented bees from escaping the hollowed-out logs they were housed in.

According to Carlos Fidel Martínez Sánchez, an archaeologist at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico, the circular lids, or panuchos, are about eight by 10 inches.

They date back to the Maya Postclassic period, which lasted from approximately 950 to the early 1500s, ending when the Spanish conquest occurred. One of the lids was well-preserved and in good condition, but the other two were heavily damaged.

When the researchers were first excavating the area, they thought they had stumbled across the remains of a wall.

However, after finding the lids, they realized the site was once an apiary, which is a location where bees are kept.

More specifically, the Maya cultivated the Melipona beecheii, a species of stingless bee they considered to be sacred.

The species is native to Mexico and is now endangered. They live in hollow trees in small colonies, producing a citrusy, floral honey.

Their honey is less viscous than other types. Today, it is consumed for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

diegograndi – – illustrative purposes only

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