Between 500 and 1100 AD, mountainousThe area of Peru belonged to the large Huari empire. Like the Incas, this people was able to spread their culture over a vast territory. But how did they do it? Recent finds in one of the settlements of Peru suggest that the Huari forged political alliances during feasts at which they served beer with a drug to the local elite. This allowed them to expand the boundaries of their empire during one festive feast. In addition, feasts with narcotic beer were arranged for the local population, which allowed the rulers to strengthen their power. Evidence of this was found during excavations near Arequipa in southern Peru. Here, apparently, there was a small outpost of Vari, located about 800 km south of the capital of the empire. This area is today called Quilkapampa. Artifacts suggest that the area was inhabited by locals who maintained their way of life even after the arrival of Huari in the middle of the ninth century.
What drugs did the Huari treat the locals with?
An outpost discovered by archaeologists containscharacteristic features of Huari architecture. Household items were also found here, such as skillfully decorated drinking vessels, ceremonial clothes with feathers, stone tablets, etc. However, scientists were unable to find the most important thing - weapons that would indicate the military presence of Wari in this territory. Researchers became interested in the question - how did a small group of foreigners far from their home manage to force the locals to recognize their authority?
As reported in Antiquity magazine, hintsfound in dry soil. Hundreds of thousands of dried plant remains were found in it. After spending several months studying them, Dickinson College archeobotanist Matthew Beaver discovered the seeds of a hallucinogenic plant called Anadenanthera colubrina, better known as the fork.
It is said that the Huari used a forkimages of pods with seeds on drinking vessels. However, this plant does not grow near Quilcapampa. Moreover, the seeds have only been found in Huari settlements. No traces of a fork were found on the territory where the locals lived. This also confirms that it was Huari who brought the drug.
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Usually the seeds of Anadenanthera colubrina are crushedand inhaled, which causes severe hallucinations. However, the Huari used the fork differently. They added the seeds to alcohol and also mixed them with the fruits of the molle tree. This provided a lasting effect of drug intoxication.
According to the researchers, the fork in Quilcapampawas found next to pits filled with dried molle berry seeds that were soaked and fermented, presumably to make a strong beer known as chicha.
How the Huari used drugs for political purposes
Scholars believe that Huari useda drugged drink to befriend the locals and influence the regional elite. Most likely this happened as a result of exclusive feasts or parties.
“Vari told the locals, ‘Bring the molle and we’ll add a special sauce,’” the researchers suggest.
Thus, instead of organizingmilitary incursions, the Huari may have built their empire one “batch” at a time. This explains the absence of weapons among archaeological finds. Artifacts from other Huari settlements show that they had a culture of drunken parties. Most of the images on their pottery are about brewing or serving beer.
“I see it as drunken family dinners buildingsocial relations. Because the fork was an exotic substance in Quilcapampa, the party fueled by the drug was special, which bolstered the popularity of the newcomers,” says Justin Jennings, an archaeologist at the Royal Ontario Museum who led the excavation.
About 900 AD, that is, aftera few decades after the drug feasts, the settlement of Kilkapampa was abandoned. This was caused by failures in trade over long distances. Scientists say the Huari have been cut off from their supply chains. As a result, the efforts that were made to win over the locals ultimately failed.
According to the researchers, the Quilcapampa findscan help to understand how Huari's policies worked on a larger scale. In addition, they demonstrate not only the use of the drug by high priests, but also that its use may have been more widespread than previously thought. Finally, let me remind you that archaeologists recently discovered the tomb of Huari. She showed that this people practiced not only feasts, but also human sacrifices.