Ancient South American Empire Tripped On Psychedelic Beer

High Times

Leaders of a historic South American empire used a beer mixed with a psychedelic drug to maintain political control over their society and surrounding communities, according to research published on Wednesday.  In a study published by the journal Antiquity, archaeologists revealed that leaders of the Wari people served a beer-like beverage made from the fruits of the molle tree combined with the seeds of the vilca tree and served the mixture to guests at communal feasts. “The resulting psychotropic experience reinforced the power of the Wari state, and represents an intermediate step between exclusionary and corporate political strategies,” the researchers wrote in an abstract of the study published online by Cambridge University Press. “This Andean example adds to the global catalog documenting the close relationship between hallucinogens and social power.” The Wari built their empire in the highlands of the Andes mountains in current-day Peru, ruling the area from about 600-1000 A.D. and predating the Inca empire by four centuries. Archeologists excavating at Quilcapampa in Southern Peru from 2013 through 2017 discovered the first evidence of psychedelic vilca seeds found at a Wari site.  Matthew Biwer, a visiting assistant professor of archaeology at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and the lead author of the study, said that the discovery sheds light on how South American indigenous civilizations made use of psychoactive substances. “This was a turning point in the Andes in terms of politics and use of hallucinogens,” Biwer said, as reported by CNN. “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.” Pre-Columbian civilizations used vilca, often…

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