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Robinson DW, Brown K, McMenemy M, Dennany L, Baker MJ, Allan P, Cartwright C, Bernard J, Sturt F, Kotoula E, Jazwa C, Gill KM, Randolph-Quinney P, Ash T, Bedford C, Gandy D, Armstrong M, Miles J, Haviland D. 
“Datura quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, provide unambiguous confirmation of the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site”. 
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Oct 25.
Abstract
While debates have raged over the relationship between trance and rock art, unambiguous evidence of the consumption of hallucinogens has not been reported from any rock art site in the world. A painting possibly representing the flowers of Datura on the ceiling of a Californian rock art site called Pinwheel Cave was discovered alongside fibrous quids in the same ceiling. Even though Native Californians are historically documented to have used Datura to enter trance states, little evidence exists to associate it with rock art. A multianalytical approach to the rock art, the quids, and the archaeological context of this site was undertaken. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) results found hallucinogenic alkaloids scopolamine and atropine in the quids, while scanning electron microscope analysis confirms most to be Datura wrightii Three-dimensional (3D) analyses of the quids indicate the quids were likely masticated and thus consumed in the cave under the paintings. Archaeological evidence and chronological dating shows the site was well utilized as a temporary residence for a range of activities from Late Prehistory through Colonial Periods. This indicates that Datura was ingested in the cave and that the rock painting represents the plant itself, serving to codify communal rituals involving this powerful entheogen. These results confirm the use of hallucinogens at a rock art site while calling into question previous assumptions concerning trance and rock art imagery.
Comments and Responses to this Article
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earth
Nov 25, 2020 11:25
Inverse.com Runs Summary of Paper #

https://www.inverse.com/innovation/native-californian-rock-art-hallucinogens

The Inverse.com's retelling of the PNAS paper is pretty good, though I initially misunderstood their article as saying that the spiral image was unambiguous, but the authors use that strong language to refer to plant material that had been jammed in the cracks of the rock ceiling/walls of the cave where the pinwheel/spiral paint was found.

Their LC/MS analysis of the plant material appears to demonstrate the plant material is from a Datura species, most likely Datura wrightii. The authors of the paper also did microscopic analysis and they claim that analysis demonstrates tooth marks, showing that the plant material had been lumped together, then bitten into by humans, and then jammed into the cracks in the cave.

Careful! Datura! The Chumash didn't have a lot of plant drug options. It has long been thought to be factual that the Chumash consumed Datura species for ritual and medicinal purposes. But there are lots of very rational reasons NOT to eat datura leaves.

An older mnemonic for anticholinergic toxicity taught in medical schools was Blind as a bat, mad as a hatter, red as a beet, hot as hell (or 'hot as a hare'), dry as a bone, the bowel and bladder lose their tone, and the heart runs alone.

Erowid's Datura Health Page: https://erowid.org/plants/datura/health
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