May 11, 2019

Archaeologists Find Oldest Proof of Ayahuasca use in Bolivia

Archaeologists have found traces of the powerful hallucinogen ayahuasca in a pouch of three fox snouts sewn together dated at 1000 CE in a cave, at the Cuevo del Chileno project, in the Bolivian Andes.  The traces of the drug were made up of different medicinal plants mixed together to create ayahuasca. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry — turned up trace amounts of bufotenine, DMT, harmine, cocaine and benzoylecgonine. Various combinations of these substances produce powerful, mind-altering hallucinations.

The pouch was found at 13,000 feet elevation and was an artifact of the Tiwanaku civilization (550-950 CE). The drug kit included a snuffing tube made from human hair braids, llama bone spatulas, a textile strip, and dried plant material. The plants in the bundle do not come from that region, so perhaps a traveling shaman or an expert trader  in these substances brought them to the region.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. has the report here with photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Moche/Wari Era Peru


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