Unusual procedure. Why the Nazca child was drugged with psychedelics before the sacrifice
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Scientists say that the use of stimulants for healing and rituals was quite common.
Recently, scientists have analyzed the skull of the mummy of an ancient child. It was sacrificed thousands of years ago during an ancient ritual.
During this ritual, the head was cut off and turned into a trophy. However, one hair from the skull shows that the child used a psychedelic substance, writes Science Alert.
His head is associated with the Nazca society. It is claimed to have existed in the pre-Hispanic era – from 3500 BC until 476 AD. The preserved skull was one of 22 human remains found off the southern coast of Peru.
The excavations were carried out as part of a study begun in 1982. Scientists say the child consumed the psychoactive cactus before he died. It was kind of part of the ceremony. The age and sex of the child are unknown. However, this is the first time that a cactus in San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi) has been consumed by a person on the Peruvian coast.
The cactus is known for its hallucinogenic properties. For a long time, indigenous civilizations used it for healing. Sometimes – for rituals. The find also indicates that some of the victims were given stimulants before they died.
The study took samples from 4 trophy skulls and 18 mummies. It turned out that the cactus was not the only psychoactive substance. Some used coca leaves. It is a fairly well-known source of the psychoactive substance cocaine. The experiment also found traces of Banisteriopsis caapi, the main compound in ayahusak. It is a hallucinogenic drink containing harmine and harmaline. These two compounds are used in modern antidepressants.
The lead author of the latest study, Dagmara Socha, noted that there are still questions about the spread of consumption of these plants in the Nazca culture.