Arid Environment

Did hallucinogenic booze fuel politics in ancient Peru?

The peaceful, easy feeling derived from a mix of hallucinogenic drugs and alcoholic drink may have been a key to political power in coastal Peru a millennium ago, according to a study published today in the journal Antiquity.

Archaeologists have long recognized the role that chicha, a beer-like beverage is still consumed today, played in the culture of the Wari who ruled much of the Peruvian coast and southern Andes between around AD 600 and 1000. Wari elites would host elaborate parties for their neighbors, and copious amounts of chicha would help foster political and economic ties.

Now, the discovery of psychotropic plant remains in a Wari “brewery” is leading researchers to suggest that the Wari may have also combined the two intoxicants for a brew with an even bigger political punch.

Read more on how alcohol has fueled the development of arts, language, and religion.

The discovery was made at the site of Quilcapampa, a Wari village in southern Peru, where the extremely arid environment preserved the remains of what the residents ate and drank just before abandoning the site in the late ninth century AD Here, archaeologists found 1,100-year -old traces of potatoes, quinoa, and peanuts, as well as a staggering number of berry-like fruits from the molle (Schinus mole) tree, which the Wari often used to make chicha with an alcohol content of roughly 5 percent.

Among the soaked or boiled fruits left over from making chicha were psychotropic vilca seeds from the Anadenanthera colubrina tree. Archaeological evidence shows vilca was used as a hallucinogen in ancient South America, but usually only by political and religious elites, says National Geographic Explorer Justin Jennings, an archaeologist at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the lead author of the study, which was funded in part by National Geographic.

Quilcapampa was settled late in the ninth century by a handful of migrant families from the Wari heartlands farther north along the coast and mountains, and they may have introduced the practice of combining vilca and chicha to strengthen their new alliances with non-Wari groups in the region. And if mixing vilca and chicha helped the villagers of Quilcapampa make friends in a strange land, it might also be the secret to the political ascent of the Wari.

See the reconstructed face of an ancient Wari queen.

“What the Wari did was say, ‘We’re going to combine these… and when we put them together, we’re going to have this shared experience,'” Jennings adds.

‘Going somewhere’

Like the Amazonian drug ayahuasca, vilca results in an intense out-of-body experience. Its psychoactive effects are drastically weakened when it’s ingested, and so its seeds were usually smoked or ground into snuff. But there is a chemical reason for thinking that adding ground vilca seeds to chicha made from molle retains more of their hallucinogenic effect, Jennings explains.

“You were able to have a trip, an out-of-body experience to a degree, but it was a longer, smoother, and less violent experience,” he said. “You were able to have that sense of going somewhere, of tripping out, but with friends.”

While the molle tree used for chicha grew nearby Quilcapampa, the vilca seeds would have had to be imported from the eastern flanks of the Andes and carried over the mountains by Wari-controlled llama caravans. That meant the Wari village at Quilcapampa might have been popular gathering center in the region, boasting a chicha with a punch like no other.

The idea might explain a political secret of the Wari, whose painted drinking vessels sometimes portrayed the vilca tree with its distinctive seed pods.

Véronique Bélisle is an anthropological archaeologist at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, who was not involved in the Quilcapampa study but has researched the use of hallucinogens in ancient Peru. She said it was long now suspected that the Wari consumed vilca by adding it to chicha, but there had been no archaeological evidence until.

“This research makes an important contribution to Andean archaeology by showing that Wari colonists organized feasts during which they served chicha mixed with vilca to their guests,” Bélisle writes in an email.

But not all archaeologists are convinced. Curator Ryan Williams of the Field Museum in Chicago, who has excavated the ruins of a Wari ceremonial center at Cerro Baúl, about 100 miles to the southeast, finds the hypothesis “intriguing” but says the evidence for consumption of vilca and chica together is currently lacking. Williams gives an example of finding cotton seeds in an ancient molle brewery at Cerro Baúl. “But we didn’t assert the Wari were drinking cotton [chica],” he notes in an email.

Jennings admits there is no direct evidence that vilca was mixed with molle chicha at Quilcapampa, only that both were found in the same archaeological deposits. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the smoking gun,” he said. Further studies will look for evidence of vilca in chicha residues in the remains of Wari cups and serving vessels. “That’s something that we’d love to do, in order to make a stronger case that vilca and molle were added into the same vessel,” Jennings says.

The National Geographic Society, committed to illuminating and protecting the wonder of our world, funded Explorer Justin Jennings’s work. Learn more about the Society’s support of Explorers working to inspire, educate, and better understand human history and cultures.

Watch your inbox over the next few days for photos, stories, and special offers from us.

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Wari elites would host elaborate parties for their neighbors, and copious amounts of chicha would help foster political and economic ties."},"type":"p"},{"id":"micro","cntnt":{"cmsType":"image","hasCopyright":true,"id":"micro","lines":3,"positionMetaBottom":true,"showMore":true,"caption":"Archaeologists at Quilcapampa found thousands of berry-like fruits from the molle tree, which were processed to make chicha, a fermented alcoholic beverage.","credit":"Photograph courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus%20QUILCAPAMPA-22.jpg"},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus%20QUILCAPAMPA-22_16x9.jpg"},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus%20QUILCAPAMPA-22_3x2.jpg"},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus%20QUILCAPAMPA-22_square.jpg"},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus%20QUILCAPAMPA-22_2x3.jpg"},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus%20QUILCAPAMPA-22_3x4.jpg"},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus%20QUILCAPAMPA-22_4x3.jpg"},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus%20QUILCAPAMPA-22_2x1.jpg"}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus QUILCAPAMPA-22","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/28a4c07a-c2f1-4cd2-b1dd-be18c3dfed78/Schinus QUILCAPAMPA-22.jpg","crdt":"Photograph courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","dsc":"The drupes of Schinus mole can be used to make an alcoholic beverage. 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the discovery of psychotropic plant remains in a Wari “brewery” is leading researchers to suggest that the Wari may have also combined the two intoxicants for a brew with an even bigger political punch."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html3","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Read more on how alcohol has fueled the development of arts, language, and religion."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html4","cntnt":{"mrkup":"The discovery was made at the site of Quilcapampa, a Wari village in southern Peru, where the extremely arid environment preserved the remains of what the residents ate and drank just before abandoning the site in the late ninth century A.D. Here, archaeologists found 1,100-year-old traces of potatoes, quinoa, and peanuts, as well as a staggering number of berry-like fruits from the molle (Schinus mole) tree, which the Wari often used to make chicha with an alcohol content of roughly 5 percent."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html5","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Among the soaked or boiled fruits left over from making chicha were psychotropic vilca seeds from the Anadenanthera colubrina tree. Archaeological evidence shows vilca was used as a hallucinogen in ancient South America, but usually only by political and religious elites, says National Geographic Explorer Justin Jennings, an archaeologist at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the lead author of the study, which was funded in part by National Geographic."},"type":"p"},{"id":"dyptich","cntnt":{"cmsType":"imagegroup","hasCopyright":true,"id":"dyptich","groupCredit":"Photographs courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","images":[{"aspectRatio":0.8,"caption":"An international team of archaeologists from Peru, Canada and the U.S. excavated Quilcapampa between 2013 and 2017.","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":0.8,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11.jpg"},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11_16x9.jpg"},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11_3x2.jpg"},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11_square.jpg"},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11_2x3.jpg"},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11_3x4.jpg"},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11_4x3.jpg"},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11_2x1.jpg"}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11.jpg","crdt":"Photograph courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","dsc":"ROM fieldwork during the 2016 season at Quilcapampa. The ROM worked at the site from 2013 to 2017 and involved an international team from Peru, the United States, and Canada.","ext":"jpg","ttl":"Hallucinogenic beer fueled politics in ancient Peru"},"src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c01e1745-a1f3-4b8d-b53d-8a0148cbf491/QUILCAPAMPA-11.jpg"},{"aspectRatio":0.8,"caption":"The site of Quilcapampa was a remote Wari outpost in southern Peru that was abandoned in the late A.D. 800s.","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":0.8,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5.jpg"},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5_16x9.jpg"},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5_3x2.jpg"},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5_square.jpg"},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5_2x3.jpg"},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5_3x4.jpg"},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5_4x3.jpg"},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5_2x1.jpg"}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5.jpg","crdt":"Photograph courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","dsc":"Survey and excavations took place at Quilcapampa, Peru from 2013-2017.","ext":"jpg","ttl":"Hallucinogenic beer fueled politics in ancient Peru"},"src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/59720fc6-9f8a-495d-a703-70b968f4336e/quilcapampa-c-5.jpg"}]},"type":"inline"},{"id":"html6","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Quilcapampa was settled late in the ninth century by a handful of migrant families from the Wari heartlands farther north along the coast and mountains, and they may have introduced the practice of combining vilca and chicha to strengthen their new alliances with non-Wari groups in the region. And if mixing vilca and chicha helped the villagers of Quilcapampa make friends in a strange land, it might also be the secret to the political ascent of the Wari."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html7","cntnt":{"mrkup":"See the reconstructed face of an ancient Wari queen."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html8","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“What the Wari did was say, ‘We’re going to combine these… and when we put them together, we’re going to have this shared experience,’” Jennings adds."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html9","cntnt":{"mrkup":"'Going somewhere'"},"type":"h2"},{"id":"qero","cntnt":{"cmsType":"image","hasCopyright":true,"id":"qero","lines":3,"positionMetaBottom":true,"showMore":true,"caption":"Wari ceremonial drinking vessels often included regional animals, including this thirsty jaguar.","credit":"Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, Museo Nacional De Arquelogia Antropologia e Historia Peru","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":1.25,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773.jpg"},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_16x9.jpg"},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_3x2.jpg"},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_square.jpg"},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_2x3.jpg"},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_3x4.jpg"},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_4x3.jpg"},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_2x1.jpg"}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773.jpg","crdt":"Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, Museo Nacional De Arquelogia Antropologia e Historia Peru","dsc":"A Wari Indian ceremonial jaguar cup for consuming chicha.","ext":"jpg","ttl":"700773"},"align":"pageWidth","belowHeader":true,"imageSrc":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_16x9.jpg?w=636&h=358","size":"medium"},"type":"inline"},{"id":"html10","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Like the Amazonian drug ayahuasca, vilca results in an intense out-of-body experience. Its psychoactive effects are drastically weakened when it’s ingested, and so its seeds were usually smoked or ground into snuff. But there is a chemical reason for thinking that adding ground vilca seeds to chicha made from molle retains more of their hallucinogenic effect, Jennings explains."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html11","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“You were able to have a trip, an out-of-body experience to a degree, but it was a longer, smoother, and less violent experience,” he said. “You were able to have that sense of going somewhere, of tripping out, but with friends.”"},"type":"p"},{"id":"html12","cntnt":{"mrkup":"While the molle tree used for chicha grew nearby Quilcapampa, the vilca seeds would have had to be imported from the eastern flanks of the Andes and carried over the mountains by Wari-controlled llama caravans. That meant the Wari village at Quilcapampa might have been popular gathering center in the region, boasting a chicha with a punch like no other."},"type":"p"},{"id":"fragment","cntnt":{"cmsType":"image","hasCopyright":true,"id":"fragment","lines":3,"positionMetaBottom":true,"showMore":true,"caption":"Wari drinking vessels like this one excavated at Quilcapampa can be found across much of Peru.","credit":"Photograph courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":0.8,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13.jpg"},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13_16x9.jpg"},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13_3x2.jpg"},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13_square.jpg"},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13_2x3.jpg"},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13_3x4.jpg"},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13_4x3.jpg"},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13_2x1.jpg"}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13.jpg","crdt":"Photograph courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","dsc":"More than 800 years before the Inca, the Wari State expanded out of the central Peruvian Sierra around 600 AD and shaped interactions in the region for the next four hundred years. Wari ceramics like this Robles Moqo facenecked jar excavated at Quilcapampa can be found across much of Peru.","ext":"jpg","ttl":"Hallucinogenic beer fueled politics in ancient Peru"},"align":"contentWidth","belowParagraph":true,"imageSrc":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/265bd834-aec1-49e0-8f70-fdf23621b55d/QUILCAPAMPA-13_16x9.jpg?w=636&h=358","size":"small"},"type":"inline"},{"id":"html13","cntnt":{"mrkup":"The idea might explain a political secret of the Wari, whose painted drinking vessels sometimes portray the vilca tree with its distinctive seed pods."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html14","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Véronique Bélisle is an anthropological archaeologist at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, who was not involved in the Quilcapampa study but has researched the use of hallucinogens in ancient Peru. She said it was long suspected that the Wari consumed vilca by adding it to chicha, but there had been no archaeological evidence until now."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html15","cntnt":{"mrkup":"“This research makes an important contribution to Andean archaeology by showing that Wari colonists organized feasts during which they served chicha mixed with vilca to their guests,” Bélisle writes in an email."},"type":"p"},{"id":"field","cntnt":{"cmsType":"image","hasCopyright":true,"id":"field","lines":3,"positionMetaBottom":true,"showMore":true,"caption":"The extreme aridity at Quilcapampa preserved plant remains for more than a millennia, offering important insight into the life of Wari culture.","credit":"Photograph courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17.jpg"},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17_16x9.jpg"},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17_3x2.jpg"},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17_square.jpg"},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17_2x3.jpg"},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17_3x4.jpg"},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17_4x3.jpg"},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17_2x1.jpg"}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17.jpg","crdt":"Photograph courtesy of Lisa Milosavljevic, Royal Ontario Museum","dsc":"Survey and excavations took place at Quilcapampa, Peru from 2013-2017.","ext":"jpg","ttl":"Hallucinogenic beer fueled politics in ancient Peru"},"align":"pageWidth","belowParagraph":true,"imageSrc":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/74d88909-48fb-41ff-a853-4adf532a34f4/QUILCAPAMPA-17_16x9.jpg?w=636&h=358","size":"medium"},"type":"inline"},{"id":"html16","cntnt":{"mrkup":"But not all archaeologists are convinced. Curator Ryan Williams of the Field Museum in Chicago, who has excavated the ruins of a Wari ceremonial center at Cerro Baúl, about 100 miles to the southeast, finds the hypothesis “intriguing” but says the evidence for consumption of vilca and chica together is currently lacking. Williams gives an example of finding cotton seeds in an ancient molle brewery at Cerro Baúl. “But we didn’t assert the Wari were drinking cotton [chica],” he notes in an email."},"type":"p"},{"id":"html17","cntnt":{"mrkup":"Jennings admits there is no direct evidence that vilca was mixed with molle chicha at Quilcapampa, only that both were found in the same archaeological deposits. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the smoking gun,” he said. Further studies will look for evidence of vilca in chicha residues in the remains of Wari cups and serving vessels. “That’s something that we’d love to do, in order to make a stronger case that vilca and molle were added into the same vessel,” Jennings says."},"type":"p"},{"id":"ngs-note","cntnt":{"id":"ngs-note","cmsType":"editorsNote","note":"

The National Geographic Society, committed to illuminating and protecting the wonder of our world, funded Explorer Justin Jennings’s work. Learn more about the Society’s support of Explorers working to inspire, educate, and better understand human history and cultures.

"},"type":"inline"}],"cid":"drn:src:natgeo:unison::prod:6596b2b7-7eb3-4bbb-b476-9c1a0b49597a","cntrbGrp":[{"contributors":[{"displayName":"Tom Metcalfe"}],"title":"By","rl":"Writer"}],"mode":"richtext","dscrptn":"A discovery in a 1,100-year-old Wari outpost suggests that powerful, communal intoxicants may have helped foster alliances.","enableAds":true,"endbug":true,"isMetered":true,"isUserAuthed":false,"ldMda":{"cmsType":"image","hasCopyright":true,"id":"6c18a0e5-f9bf-4f6d-9908-ca794cc92432","lines":3,"positionMetaBottom":true,"showMore":true,"caption":"The Wari, who ruled much of coastal Peru between A.D 600-1000, drank a beer-like beverage known as chicha from these colorful vessels.","credit":"Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, Museo Nacional De Arquelogia Antropologia e Historia Peru","image":{"crps":[{"nm":"raw","aspRto":1.452081316553727,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022.jpg"},{"nm":"16x9","aspRto":1.7777777777777777,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022_16x9.jpg"},{"nm":"3x2","aspRto":1.5,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022_3x2.jpg"},{"nm":"square","aspRto":1,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022_square.jpg"},{"nm":"2x3","aspRto":0.6666666666666666,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022_2x3.jpg"},{"nm":"3x4","aspRto":0.75,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022_3x4.jpg"},{"nm":"4x3","aspRto":1.3333333333333333,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022_4x3.jpg"},{"nm":"2x1","aspRto":2,"url":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022_2x1.jpg"}],"rt":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022","src":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022.jpg","crdt":"Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, Museo Nacional De Arquelogia Antropologia e Historia Peru","dsc":"Colorful face-necked pottery vessels typical of the Wari Indians. These containers were often used to contain the beverage chicha, brewed from corn. After use they were often shattered.","ext":"jpg","ttl":"702022"},"imageSrc":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/c15689f6-d475-48d9-8935-fa83dfb79c19/NationalGeographic_702022_16x9.jpg?w=636&h=358","hideEndBug":true,"type":"imageLead","hideLine":true},"mdDt":"2022-01-12T17:27:05.896Z","readTime":"8 min read","schma":{"athrs":[{"name":"Tom Metcalfe"}],"cnnicl":"https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/did-hallucinogenic-booze-fuel-politics-ancient-peru","kywrds":"Wari, DMT, chicha","lg":"https://assets-cdn.nationalgeographic.com/natgeo/static/default.NG.logo.dark.jpg","pblshr":"National Geographic","abt":"Archaeology","sclDsc":"A discovery in a 1,100-year-old Wari outpost suggests that powerful, communal intoxicants may have helped foster alliances.","sclImg":"https://i.natgeofe.com/n/913b55d3-abd7-476e-a65b-5f026cccf29c/NationalGeographic_700773_16x9.jpg?w=1200","sclTtl":"Did hallucinogenic booze fuel politics in ancient Peru?"},"sctn":"History","sctnLbls":[{"name":"History & Culture","type":"sources","uri":"https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history"}],"shrURLs":{"fbIcon":"facebook","fb":"https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalgeographic.com%2Fhistory%2Farticle%2Fdid-hallucinogenic-booze-fuel-politics-ancient-peru","fbAriaLabel":"article.facebookShare.ariaLabel","fbLabel":"article.facebookShare.label","fbButtonTracking":{"event_name":"share","share_content_type":"article","content_title":"did hallucinogenic booze fuel politics in ancient peru?","share_method":"facebook"},"emailIcon":"email__filled","email":"mailto:?subject=Did%20hallucinogenic%20booze%20fuel%20politics%20in%20ancient%20Peru%3F&body=A%20discovery%20in%20a%201%2C100-year-old%20Wari%20outpost%20suggests%20that%20powerful%2C%20communal%20intoxicants%20may%20have%20helped%20foster%20alliances.%0A%0Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalgeographic.com%2Fhistory%2Farticle%2Fdid-hallucinogenic-booze-fuel-politics-ancient-peru","emailLabel":"Email","emailButtonTracking":{"event_name":"share","share_content_type":"article","content_title":"did hallucinogenic booze fuel politics in ancient peru?","share_method":"email"},"twitter":"https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalgeographic.com%2Fhistory%2Farticle%2Fdid-hallucinogenic-booze-fuel-politics-ancient-peru&text=Did%20hallucinogenic%20booze%20fuel%20politics%20in%20ancient%20Peru%3F&via=NatGeo","twitterLabel":"Tweet","twitterButtonTracking":{"event_name":"share","share_content_type":"article","content_title":"did hallucinogenic booze fuel politics in ancient peru?","share_method":"twitter"}},"title":"Did hallucinogenic booze fuel politics in ancient Peru?","wrdcnt":981,"amplnk":"https://api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/history/article/did-hallucinogenic-booze-fuel-politics-ancient-peru","pbDt":"2022-01-12T00:00:09.015Z","dt":"2022-01-12T00:00:09.015Z"}]}],"cmsType":"ArticleBodyFrame"},{"id":"email-sticky-footer-frame1","mods":[{"id":"48ca7a3b-81e4-4bcf-bfda-a532a973b6e9","cmsType":"StackModule","align":"left","edgs":[{"id":"c9eac64a-d280-45e8-9629-dd1510a489f0","cmsType":"EmailStickyFooterTile","title":"Enter your email address to continue reading","errorMessage":"Please enter a valid e-mail address","mrktngMeta":{"cpgnCd":"20211025_global_email wall_history"},"subtitle":"Dig deeper and uncover history's mysteries. Start exploring!","success":{"description":"

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Queens, NY. The Faizi Sisters visiting for a wedding from Maine, do some shopping near Roosevelt Ave, and stop to pose for a portrait. Madina Faizi (right, pink with shawl and ponytail) Mokadisa Faizi (left, hair down. In the largely Bangladeshi community near Diversity Plaza off Roosevelt Avenue, vendors sell everything from Vegetables to gold Jewelry to prayer rugs. (Natalie Keyssar for National Geographic)","ext":"jpg","ratio":"3x2"},"isFeatured":true,"sections":[{"name":"History & Culture","id":"b0c8dd52-23a8-34c0-a940-f46792bc9e70","type":"sources","uri":"https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history"},{"name":"Stories of Migration","id":"10486db0-c0eb-313c-b983-785de6a42fb4","type":"series","uri":"https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/topic/stories-of-migration"}],"headline":"More than 300 languages are spoken along this NYC street","link":"https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/more-than-300-languages-are-spoken-along-this-nyc-street"},{"description":"In October 2020, after months of urgent work, researchers found an Asian giant hornet hive in Washington State. 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The nest was found by catching a hornet and attaching a tiny transmitter. Then tracking the hornet as it flew back to its nest. At roughly 2 inches in length, the Asian Giant Hornet (AGH), ( Vespa mandarinia) is an invasive species from Southeast Asia and is the world’s largest hornet. It has distinctive markings: a large orange or yellow head and black-and-orange stripes across its body. ARS is investigating the AGH, dubbed the “Murder Hornet” because when they enter honey bee colonies to harvest bees for food for their own colonies, they bite the bees’ head off. Asian bees have learned how to kill the AGH by covering it to use their bodies to overheat and kill it. Bees in North America do not know how to do this. AGH is more dangerous to insects than anything else. While the hornet’s sting delivers a potent venom, it poses a health concern for people with bee or wasp allergies, but attacks against humans are rare. A few AGH specimens were discovered last year in the Pacific Northwest. ARS postdoctoral research associate Jacqueline Serrano leads the team efforts to develop attractants for use as bait in AGH traps in Washington State. RFID (radio) devices have been used to track hornets back to their nest. In the Pacific Northwest, honey bees play a significant role in the production of many fruit crops including apples, berries, pears, and cherries. “If AGH were to become established in Washington State, it could pose a serious threat to the beekeeping industry,” Serrano said. “AGH could subsequently impact the state’s billion-dollar agriculture industry.” ARS scientists will use those specimens to conduct genomic sequencing as part of the ARS Ag100Pest initiative. This initiative focuses on deciphering the genomes of 100 insect species that are most destructive to crops and livestock and are projected to have serious bioeconomic impacts on agriculture and the environment. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL) Research Entomologist Matthew L. Buffington works closely with the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History to identify captured hornet specimens and pass that information to other ARS scientists who are on the hunt for the Vespa mandarinia, the infamous Asian giant hornet (AGH) — a threat to honey bees native to the United States, on February 16, 2021, in Washington, D.C. 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The nest was found by catching a hornet and attaching a tiny transmitter. Then tracking the hornet as it flew back to its nest. At roughly 2 inches in length, the Asian Giant Hornet (AGH), ( Vespa mandarinia) is an invasive species from Southeast Asia and is the world’s largest hornet. It has distinctive markings: a large orange or yellow head and black-and-orange stripes across its body. ARS is investigating the AGH, dubbed the “Murder Hornet” because when they enter honey bee colonies to harvest bees for food for their own colonies, they bite the bees’ head off. Asian bees have learned how to kill the AGH by covering it to use their bodies to overheat and kill it. Bees in North America do not know how to do this. AGH is more dangerous to insects than anything else. While the hornet’s sting delivers a potent venom, it poses a health concern for people with bee or wasp allergies, but attacks against humans are rare. A few AGH specimens were discovered last year in the Pacific Northwest. ARS postdoctoral research associate Jacqueline Serrano leads the team efforts to develop attractants for use as bait in AGH traps in Washington State. RFID (radio) devices have been used to track hornets back to their nest. In the Pacific Northwest, honey bees play a significant role in the production of many fruit crops including apples, berries, pears, and cherries. “If AGH were to become established in Washington State, it could pose a serious threat to the beekeeping industry,” Serrano said. “AGH could subsequently impact the state’s billion-dollar agriculture industry.” ARS scientists will use those specimens to conduct genomic sequencing as part of the ARS Ag100Pest initiative. This initiative focuses on deciphering the genomes of 100 insect species that are most destructive to crops and livestock and are projected to have serious bioeconomic impacts on agriculture and the environment. 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