An Ancient Psychedelic Brew & Metal Found in an Elongated Skull

Vilca ancient peruvian psychedelic brew

Did ancient Peruvian leaders use hallucinogens to keep their followers in line? And do an ancient elongated skull show evidence of an advanced metal surgical implant or is it just a hoax?

Archaeologists studying the Wari people in the southern Peruvian town of Quilcapampa have found hallucinogenic “vilca” seeds in a recent dig. Writing in the journal Antiquity, the researchers point out they found 16 vilca seeds in an ancient alcoholic drink called “Chicha de Molle,” in an area believed to be used for feasting.

The Wari people lived in this area from about 500 to 1,000 A.D. Their reverence for the psychotropic vilca seed has been found in images at other Wari sites, this is the first find of the actual seeds. What is particularly interesting to the archaeologists is the role of ancient hallucinogens and their influence on social interactions.

The vilca seeds would have come from tropical woodlands on the eastern side of the Andes, a complex trade network would have to be in place to even get them. And adding the vilca seeds with the alcoholic drink would increase the intensity of a psychedelic trip.

That trip would be seen as a journey to the spirit world, and Wari leaderships’ control over the substance led to control over their followers who wanted it. Researchers argue in their paper, “[T]he vilca-infused brew brought people together in a shared psychotropic experience while ensuring the privileged position of Wari leaders within the social hierarchy as the providers of the hallucinogen.”

Work continues at the dig site at Quilcapampa, and researchers plan to test where the ancient vilca seeds came from – so they can figure out the rest of the ancient trade routes.

A Peruvian elongated skull may show the earliest evidence of an ancient metal implant, or it could be a hoax.

Livescience.com reports that the skull, which was donated to the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City, is elongated and pointed, which is not necessarily noteworthy, as ancient Peruvians used to squeeze and shape the heads of infants. But this implant, if genuine, could show advanced surgery using a foreign object.

Beneath the metal, there is a hole in the skull believed to have been made by surgical trepanation, which is the surgical removal of part of the skull to treat an injury. Trepanation in the Andes was widely practiced until the early 16th century. This skull appears to show a piece of metal that was hammered and molded into shape to fill and protect the trepanation hole. And it appears the man survived as there is evidence of bones healing and growing back together.  

But is it real? The museum of osteology has not yet determined if the metal is genuine or if it was added later. As John Verano, an anthropology professor at Tulane University, told Live Science, “I think this is something fabricated to make the skull a more valuable collectible.”

Verano has studied a number of Andean skulls with metal plates that turned out to be fake, and if this metal plate is a forgery, it could have been added years ago.  

More testing must be done, but the museum has not yet announced when those tests will take place. If the metal turns out to be genuine, this would be the first of its kind.

Derinkuyu & Nevsehir: Turkey's Lost Underground Cities

article migration image turkey underground cities jpg

Lost civilizations have long held fascination and curiosity for many. Rich with historical sites and breathtaking landscapes, the ancient Anatolian region of Turkey seems otherworldly at times, and the city of Cappadocia is no exception.

The first recorded reference to Cappadocia dates as early as the late 6th century BCE, in documents transcribed for Persian kings. The Cappadocians were even mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Acts, most likely originating of Jewish descent.

Cappadocia is known for its beautiful yet arid countryside, curious rock formations, and cave dwellings. The terrain seems right out of a science fiction novel, but volcanic activity in the 3rd geological period most likely explains the spires, called “fairy chimneys.”

Climate has also played a massive part in the erosion of the cone-shaped formations, as well as ancient human hands. Soft volcanic rock, called tuff, lends itself particularly well to carving, and in a hot, dry desert, living in caves provides relief from the intense heat. Past residents also carved and pock-marked the volcanic rock formations that have eroded over time into quirky spires and strange shapes. The dwellings and churches cut into the faces of cliffs and mountains also lend a mystical air to the semi-arid surroundings.

However, recent years have revealed Cappadocia had more secrets than previously disclosed, including a veritable network of underground cities, outfitted to sustain underground life for extended periods of time. Many of them are interconnected and large enough to be considered their own independent cities. As more and more amazing underground dwellings are uncovered, the mystery surrounding this troglodyte lifestyle still remains, and Derinkuyu and Nevsehir are no exceptions.

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