Hey! Who Lost Their Stash?

A thousand years ago someone lost their drugs and paraphernalia on a Bolivian mountain located at an elevation of 13,000 feet (3962 meters). Melanie Miller just found it:

MAY 6, 2019 — Led by University of California, Berkeley, archaeologist Melanie Miller, a chemical analysis of a pouch made from three fox snouts sewn together tested positive for at least five plant-based psychoactive substances … trace amounts of bufotenine, DMT, harmine, cocaine and benzoylecgonine.

“Our findings support the idea that people have been using these powerful plants for at least 1,000 years, combining them to go on a psychedelic journey, and that ayahuasca use may have roots in antiquity,” said Miller.

The remarkably well-preserved ritual bundle was found by archaeologists at 13,000-foot elevations in the Lipez Altiplano region of southwestern Bolivia, where llamas and alpacas roam. The leather kit dates back to the pre-Inca Tiwanaku civilization, which dominated the southern Andean highlands from about 550 to 950 A.D.

In addition to the fox-snout pouch, the leather bundle contained intricately carved wooden “snuffing tablets” and a “snuffing tube” with human hair braids attached, for snorting intoxicants; llama bone spatulas; a colorful woven textile strip and dried plant material. All the objects were in good shape, due to the arid conditions of the Andean highlands. […]

“A lot of these plants, if consumed in the wrong dosage, could be very poisonous,” Miller said. “So, whoever owned this bundle would need to have had great knowledge and skills about how to use these plants, and how and where to procure them.”

Of particular fascination to Miller is the pouch made of three fox snouts. She describes it as “the most amazing artifact I’ve had the privilege to work with.”

“There are civilizations who believe that, by consuming certain psychotropic plants, you can embody a specific animal to help you reach supernatural realms, and perhaps a fox may be among those animals,” Miller said. […]

Ethnobotany is making great strides in disrupting civilization’s stifled worldview involving illicit drugs. Science is leading us to a new and better era, one allowing informed citizens to override erroneous and disruptive official decisions about forbidden substances. It promises to be an era that incorporates better methods for treating or curing physical or mental disorders – public health problems sometimes brought on by uncaring or poorly informed political leaders. In spite of the drug war, a wonderous new age of realism and discovery shines upon us, even though it may be a thousand years late in arriving.

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