The 1-2-inch clay balls were unearthed at an excavation of a kitchen at Escalera al Cielo in Yucatán.
Thought to be 1000 years old, the balls contained microscopic pieces of maize, beans, squash and root crops.
Most likely, the fired clay balls were either placed directly into pots of food to cook or heat it, or used in pit (pib in Mayan) oven cooking installations.
…[The] cooking method involved digging a shallow pit, lining it with stones or clay balls, building a fire on top and waiting until it is reduced to embers…
The process continued by placing whole roots, squash fruits or packets of food wrapped in maize on the hot stones. Everything was then covered with earth and leaves to seal in heat. Cooking took from one hour to up to a day or more.