Science

Scientists Found a Thousand-Year-Old Pouch Having a Bundle of Hallucinogenic Drugs

An outstanding finding of a one-thousand-year-old bag in southwestern Bolivia has exposed traces of various psychoactive drugs. As per a new study, it is definite proof of the use of cocaine and DMT, the hallucinogenic drug. Scientists have discovered that Native Americans used many psychotropic plants to create illusions and hallucinations. They altered consciousness a millennium ago. The bag found in Bolivia also contained a special pouch and a pretty collection of equipment. Besides, the pouch is stitched together from snouts of three foxes. It also had two wooden slabs along with two bone spatulas, a woven hairband, and a tube attached with two human hair braids. They might have used wooden plates for crushing psychotropic plants and human-hair braid tube to smoke those plants.

José Capriles is an author of a paper published on the discovery today in the journal PNAS. He is also an anthropologist at Penn State University. According to José, the leather bag probably belonged to a shaman – a type of witch doctor. In view of Capriles, Shamans were ritual veterans having an understanding of plants and their use. They used plants to commit with supernatural creatures. Maybe the shaman, the owner of the bag ate various plants at a time to produce different effects or to increase his/her hallucinations. Capriles found the pouch during an archaeological dig in Cueva del Chileno back in 2010. At the time scientists were investigating the dry Sora River Valley present in southwestern Bolivia. Radiocarbon dating of the leather bag indicates the material dated between 900 and 1100 CE.

Scientists said they realised that psychotropic compounds were prominent in the spiritual and religious activities among the community. But they were now aware that those people used various compounds and they likely had a mixture of the ingredients. It is the first time they have found the largest number of psychoactive substances in a single archaeological collection from South America. During the discovery, the scientists identified the presence of many psychoactive elements including cocaine, benzoylecgonine, dimethyltryptamine, and psilocin.

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Stefen Marawa

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