I love reading about ancient pre-Colombian life from the buildings to the culture and of course the food. Early Spanish religious zealots decided to burn most of the written history as they considered it Satanic. The thought of what was destroyed turns my stomach a little. The more I learn about ancient new world cultures, the more shocked I am at how advanced they were.
This is a bean dressed up for battle with a sword and shield from Moche pottery:
Apparently there are many scholars who believe that centuries before the Inca in Peru, there was an actual bean writing system based on the markings of the beans. I'm not clear if the markings are manmade or natural but the bean they used was called pallares by the Spanish and I think I need to get down to Peru and check this all out.
Source: Maya Script: A civilization and its writing by Maria Longhena.
Abbeville Press, 2000