Biblical accounts of "corn" stored in the pyramids of Egypt are misunderstood. The "corn" from the bible was probably barley. The mistake comes from a changed use of the word "corn," which is used to signify the most-used grain of a specific place. In England, "corn" was wheat, and in Scotland and Ireland, the word referred to oats. Since maize was the common American "corn," it took that name -- and keeps it today.
It is believed that the first use of wild and early cultivated corn was popping. The oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in the Bat Cave of west-central New Mexico in 1948 and 1950. Ranging from smaller than a penny to about 2 inches, the oldest Bat Cave ears are about 4,000 years old.
Popcorn was integral to early 16th century Aztec Indian ceremonies.
Bernardino de Sahagun writes: "And also several young women danced, having so vowed, a popcorn dance. As thick as tassels of maize were their popcorn garlands. And these they placed upon (the girls') heads." In 1519, Cortes got his first sight of popcorn when he invaded Mexico and came into contact with the Aztecs. Popcorn was an important food for the Aztec Indians, who also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces, and ornaments on statues of their gods, including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility.