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

In the Yucatán Peninsula, Indigenous people have cultivated these bees for millennia. The bees provided pollination for the growth of crops.

Their honey was also used as a culinary sweetener, a remedy for respiratory and digestive issues, and in rituals.

Ancient Maya priests oversaw the harvesting of honey and held religious ceremonies for the bees. Ah Mucen Kab, a Maya deity, was worshipped as the god of bees and honey.

He showed up quite often in the Madrid Codex, a 1,110-year-old Postclassic manuscript that the ancient Maya created. It also describes some beekeeping techniques. There are only two other surviving manuscripts.

Aside from the limestone lids, the researchers dug up ceramics, beads, flint, an axe, and a hammer. These artifacts paint a picture of the daily lives of Maya commoners, who were likely the backbone of the beekeeping practices.

Researchers will continue searching the region in advance of the development of the Maya Train, a railway that traverses the Yucatán Peninsula, connecting ancient cities and sites.

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