Ancient drugs throughout the ages

It looks like she's sleeping and could wake up any second. Freaky.

It looks like she’s sleeping and could wake up any second. Freaky.

The latest discovery that Incan sacrificial victims used drugs, mainly coca, for up to a year before their death has become a big story. But the Incan’s weren’t the only users of narcotics back in the day.

The Incan mummy known as the Llullaillaco Maiden was 13 years old and sacrificed for the ritual of Capacocha. Her coca usage surged in the last year of her life, and her alcohol usage was pretty extreme in the last month before her death. Researchers say that these sacrifices drifted off to death, which doesn’t sound too bad compared to some of the other sacrificial rituals.

This news has no doubt brought about a lot of exposure, but we have to remember that although this was a pretty unique way sacrificing, this isn’t the only circumstance of drug usage throughout the ages.

Since the dawn of time, humans have been experimenting and trying to find a way to be enlightened, whether it’s by drugs or trance dance ceremonies. These rituals are usually significant of spiritualistic and cultural customs. Native Americans would use Peyote (mescalin), sometimes aided in the Rite of Passage known as a Vision Quest.

A few years ago archaeologists discovered that the Tiwanaku people (descendants of the Inca) used a substance called harmine, which can help absorb hallucinogens. They analysed Tiwanaku’s mummies hair and found this substance, along with a snuffing kit next to the mummies’ bodies.

Opiate has been around for almost 7000 years, and cannabis has been getting people baked for the last 3000 years, originally from China.

There are loads of cultures who some form of the “hard stuff” and back then it probably wasn’t as bad for you as it is today.

But the Llullaillaco Maiden is unique because drugs were used as enlightenment in most cultures, and the Incans seem to use it as insight into death. It’s likely that maybe she didn’t even know what was happening at the time of her death, but that’s pure hopeful conjecture for her sake.


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