Wednesday, January 12, 2022

"Psychedelic beer" found in S American empire

Ashley Strickland, CNN, 1/11/22; Xochitl, Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Psychedelic-laced beer may have helped this ancient South American empire rule
Harvard's Dr. Leary looks into...
Beer laced with hallucinogenic [entheogenic substances] drugs derived from plant seeds may have helped leaders of a South American culture maintain their political control for hundreds of years, according to new research.

The Wari, who built an empire and ruled the highlands of what is now Peru from 600 to 1,000 AD, preceded the Incas.
Archeological excavations at the Quilcapampa site in southern Peru, which took place between 2013 and 2017, have found that the Wari used seeds from the vilca tree and combined the hallucinogenic drug with chicha, or beer made from the molle tree.

The ancient Peruvian site is yielding surprises (© Lisa Milosavljevic/Royal Ontario Museum)
Psychedelic-laced beer may have helped this ancient South American empire rule (
This beer was then served to guests at communal feasts, reinforcing relationships while maintaining Wari political control.

The research, published Tuesday (1/11/22) in the journal Antiquity, has shown the first evidence of vilca seeds at a Wari site.

The discovery of vilca at Quilcapampa fills a gap in the understanding of how different civilizations used substances.

"This was a turning point in the Andes in terms of politics and use of hallucinogens," said study author Matthew Biwer, a visiting assistant professor of archeology at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

"We see this kind of use of hallucinogens as different use context than in prior civilizations, who seem to have closely guarded the use of hallucinogens to a select few, or the latter Inca Empire who emphasized the mass-consumption of beer but did not use psychotropic substances such as vilca at feasts." More

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