Native American art confirms hallucinogenic drug use

  • The art communicated the ecology of the plant behind the trance rather than the images seen during the trance.
  • The rock art site is a deeply meaningful place of inclusivity for the entire community.
  • The scientists analyzed fibrous bundles called quids, which were found in the ceiling of the cave.

For the first time, scientists have confirmed that Native Americans used a hallucinogenic drug while painting rock art, according to a new study

The study concluded that Native Americans, likely of the Chumash tribe, consumed the hallucinogenic plant Datura wrightii hundreds of years ago at a rock art site in Pinwheel Cave in California – and that the art they painted is likely a representation of that plant.

This is a world first, said study lead author David W. Robinson, an archaeologist at the University of Central Lancashire in the U.K.: “There is evidence of hallucinogens being depicted in rock art, and evidence of hallucinogenic plants growing at rock art sites, but to my knowledge no clear evidence of the actual preparation and consumption of a hallucinogen at a rock art site has been reported anywhere in the world.”  

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