Ancient Yucca quids: Chewed up, spit out, lost

Archaeology society to hold free lecture

Ancient quids are softer than a rock, and similar in touch to a dried sponge.

The Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeology Society hosts a lecture tonight to examine ancient Yucca quids discovered in Antelope Canyon near Page, Ariz.

Karen Adams, director of archaeobotanical research at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, presents the address at 7 p.m. The free event is held at the Methodist Church on Park Street in Cortez.

“Dr. Adams’ presentation will focus on her research on the Yucca quids found in Antelope Cave,” said Kari Schleher, a lab manager at Crow Canyon. “The Yucca quids date to the Pueblo I period.”

Quids are small fibrous bundles of stripped yucca leaves. Some archeologists believe they may have served as a type of ancient chewing gum. Adams plans to discuss the tobacco contents contained in the Antelope Canyon yucca quids, said Schleher.

Found by the hundreds at archaeological sites across the Southwest, quids – the technical term for something you chew on, and then spit out – have also been used to study human DNA.

The quids have been preserved for hundreds of years because of the area’s arid conditions.

Adams is educated in the fields of archaeology and botany.

She studies plant parts found in archaeological sites to learn how different plants were used for food, fuel, and other purposes in ancient times.