Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The Wari stuff is an image of God, with the branches of the tree and the seed pods sprouting from the head, as depicted in a Wari pot.

The Wari stuff is an image of God, with the branches of the tree and the seed pods sprouting from the head, as depicted in a Wari pot.
Pictures: J. Ochatoma Paravicino / ME Biwer et al., 2022 / Antiquity

Archaeological evidence from Peru shows that elite members of the Wari Empire mixed hallucinogenic drugs with a beer-like drink to cultivate and preserve political control.

During the feast, the Wari aristocrats add Vilka, a potent hallucinogen, to chicha, a beer-like drink made from fruit. Together, the compilation created for a powerful party drug, which researchers say helped them build power bonds and relationships with their guests. And since Vilka could only be produced by the elite, these psychedelic feasts served to increase their social and political importance. Such a new search Study Published today in Antiquity.

Before the rise of the Inca Empire, the vibrant pre-Colombian Wari kingdom ruled the Peruvian Andes from about 600 CE to 1000 CE. Evidence of the Vilka-Chicha mixture has been found at the Quilcampa site in Peru – a short-lived Wari outpost built in the 9th century. Archaeologists at the Royal Ontario Museum assisted with the fieldwork, while Matthew Beaver, an archaeologist at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, contributed to the analysis.

Quilcampa, located on a street in south-central Peru, is the first author of Beaver as “one of the few investigated Wari sites in the Peruvian province of Aruquipa, which is currently being studied in terms of Wari.” New research, an email explanation. In particular, the site provided “critical evidence of how the Wari was managed in the region” as well as insights into “the Wari-local relationship that developed during the site’s unusually short occupation”.

One of the few Vilka seeds found on the site.

One of the few Vilka seeds found on the site.
Pictures: M. Beaver

Vilka, as a drug, dates back thousands of years, but it was not clear whether Wari people took it. Members of the contemporary Tiwanaku state must have taken it as a snuff. The chemical bufotenin DMT which gives the drug its strong psychotropic properties. But according to new research, Wari people used Vilka to gain height, but did not accept it as a nasal, they added it to Chicha – in this case, Chicha is derived from fruit. Shinas Mall, An evergreen tree native to Peru.

“This is, to my knowledge, the first discovery of Vilker on the Wari site where we can get a glimpse of its use,” Beaver said. “Vilka seeds or remnants have been found in tombstones before, but we can only guess how it was used. These results point to a more in-depth understanding of the Wari feast and politics and how Vilka was involved in these exercises. “

Excavations at Quilcampa have shown evidence of both substances, as more than a million pea-sized mole drag or fruit have been found there, and some seeds of the Vilka tree have been found, which are used to make potent hallucinogenic drugs. As Beaver explained, it was the archaeological context that led his team to conclude that the two substances were mixed together.

Carbonized mole drops (fruit) used to make chicha.

Carbonized mole drops (fruit) used to make chicha.
Pictures: M. Beaver

“It’s not uncommon at the Vilka site – we’ve only recovered a few seeds,” he said. “It’s important because we know its use wasn’t widespread – it was limited to specific contexts.”

In fact, Vilka was only recovered in a few areas of the site, one of which was a central rubbish heap located near a hole in the Molle Chicha Drag. Vilkar’s close association with the Mole Chicha drag, the complete absence of snuff paraphernalia on the site, and the evidence pointing to a large party all point to the use of the Vilka-Chicha mixture at a banquet held in Quilcampa, Beaver said.

These communal feasts, organized by the aristocracy, strengthen social ties while displaying state hospitality. In a sense, it is beer and drugs that allow the Wari Empire to maintain political control, as Beaver argued in his email to Gizmodo:

The ability to provide banquets for guests has strong social, economic and political implications. Arranging a banquet involves providing food and other resources to the guests. This can have a lot of social and political implications for a host whose guests perceive the financial capacity of the host to provide the banquet (remember, there is no grocery store to buy food). Who is invited, what is served, who eats what and how much, and many other aspects of the feast create a politically charged environment. It is also political that the guests of a banquet may be indebted to a host who gave them food and drink – there is no way to repay everyone. In this way they will be forced to repay the host socially in some way, which translates into real power for the host. Feasts and surpluses can be used to build relationships through which some people become indebted to others – there is real power in such situations.

The elite seemed to have exclusive control over the Vilka drug. The tree does not grow in the valley where Quilkapampa is located, the nearest source being 250 miles (400 kilometers) away. Clearly, not everyone had a way to collect these hallucinogenic seeds, but not only that, according to research, controlling its access and use was in the best interests of Wari leaders.

New research shows that Warrior had access to Vilka, which was not previously clear, and they have added it to Chicha, as opposed to using it as a snuff. This is significant, Beaver says, because “snuff creates a mind-altering experience for one person,” where “adding Vilka to Chicha can provide this experience to many more people.” And in doing so, “Wari began to use the power of feasting and the experience of emotional change … to build social relationships and strength with the locals and other groups they encountered,” he added.

Prehistoric South Americans had access to a significant stockpile of drugs. Research from 2019 has published a 1,000 year old custom bundle It consists of five different psychoactive substances, including ayurveda and cocaine. The bundle, found in a Bolivian cave at an altitude of 13,000 feet, was probably the property of a shaman who may have had sufficient knowledge of certain plants and where to collect them.

More: Discoveries in Mexico have shed light on ancient ballgames.

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