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IPFS News Link • World News

1,000-year-old drug pouch reveals evidence of complex ancient psychedelic consumption

•, Rich Haridy

The discovery was made while investigating the dry Sora River valley in southwestern Bolivia. A ritual bundle in the form of a leather bag was uncovered that included a pouch made of three fox snouts, wooden snuff tablets, a snuff tube, and two llama bone spatulas.

Mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating on the outer leather pouch dated the bundle to sometime between 900 and 1100 CE. It is suggested this ties the entire bundle to the pre-Inca Tiwanaku civilization, a population of people who inhabited the southern Andean highlands for several centuries leading up to around 950 CE.

A tiny scraping sample from inside the fox snout pouch was extensively analyzed to reveal a broad array of psychoactive compounds. Cocaine, and its metabolite benzoylecgonine, were identified, most likely sourced from a coca leaf, along with traces of bufotenine, a psychedelic snuff, and psilocin, a psychoactive agent in magic mushrooms.