added by archaeologs The nut or fruit of the Areca Palm, which is chewed in tropical Asia, Melanesia, and New Guinea as a stimulant. It was misnamed by Europeans because it is chewed with the betal leaf; hence, betel palm is the Areca Palm from which the nut is obtained. Archaeological occurrences include Spirit Cave (c 10,000-7,000 BC), eastern Timor (early Holocene), and several sites in the Philippines, where teeth stained by the nut have been found from c 3000 BC.
added by archaeologs The hard nut of the areca palm, Areca catechu, is chewed together with powdered lime and pepper leaves (normally of Piper betle) as a stimulant from India through Southeast Asia to the Santa Cruz Islands of Melanesia. Archaeological occurrences include Spirit Cave (clO,000-7000 be), eastern Timor (early Holocene) and several sites in the Philippines, where characteristically stained teeth have been found from c3000 bc onwards. Oceanic peoples beyond Santa Cruz used a different stimulant made from roots of Piper methysticum (kava).
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983