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Datura quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, provide unambiguous confirmation of the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site

Datura quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, provide unambiguous confirmation of the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site
Datura quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, provide unambiguous confirmation of the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site
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 multi-analytical approach to the rock art, the quids, and the archaeological context of this site was undertaken. LC-MS results found hallucinogenic alkaloids scopolamine and atropine in the quids while Scanning Electron Microscope analysis confirm most to be Datura wrightii. 3D analyses of the quids indicate the quids where 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 for the first time the use of hallucinogens at any rock art site while calling into question previous assumptions concerning trance and rock art imagery
Datura, Native California, hallucinogens, quids, rock art
0027-8424
31026-31037
Robinson, David W.
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Brown, Kelly
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McMenemy, Moira
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Dennany, Lynn
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Baker, Matthew
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Allan, Pamela
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Cartwright, Caroline
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Bernard, Julienne
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Sturt, Fraser
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Kotoula, Elena
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Jazwa, Christopher
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Gill, Kristina
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Randolph-Quinney, Patrick
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Ash, Thomas
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Bedford, Clare
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Gandy, Devlin
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Armstong, Matthew
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Miles, James
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Haviland, David
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Robinson, David W.
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Brown, Kelly
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McMenemy, Moira
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Dennany, Lynn
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Baker, Matthew
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Allan, Pamela
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Cartwright, Caroline
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Bernard, Julienne
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Sturt, Fraser
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Kotoula, Elena
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Jazwa, Christopher
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Gill, Kristina
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Randolph-Quinney, Patrick
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Ash, Thomas
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Bedford, Clare
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Gandy, Devlin
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Armstong, Matthew
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Miles, James
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Haviland, David
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Robinson, David W., Brown, Kelly, McMenemy, Moira, Dennany, Lynn, Baker, Matthew, Allan, Pamela, Cartwright, Caroline, Bernard, Julienne, Sturt, Fraser, Kotoula, Elena, Jazwa, Christopher, Gill, Kristina, Randolph-Quinney, Patrick, Ash, Thomas, Bedford, Clare, Gandy, Devlin, Armstong, Matthew, Miles, James and Haviland, David (2020) Datura quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, provide unambiguous confirmation of the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117 (49), 31026-31037. (doi:10.1073/pnas.2014529117).

Record type: Article

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 multi-analytical approach to the rock art, the quids, and the archaeological context of this site was undertaken. LC-MS results found hallucinogenic alkaloids scopolamine and atropine in the quids while Scanning Electron Microscope analysis confirm most to be Datura wrightii. 3D analyses of the quids indicate the quids where 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 for the first time the use of hallucinogens at any rock art site while calling into question previous assumptions concerning trance and rock art imagery

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Submitted date: 13 July 2020
Accepted/In Press date: 8 October 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 November 2020
Published date: 8 December 2020
Keywords: Datura, Native California, hallucinogens, quids, rock art

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445480
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445480
ISSN: 0027-8424
PURE UUID: 57751ee2-fd57-489a-bdb8-1e942e7feb0f

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Date deposited: 10 Dec 2020 17:32
Last modified: 04 Feb 2021 17:33

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Contributors

Author: David W. Robinson
Author: Kelly Brown
Author: Moira McMenemy
Author: Lynn Dennany
Author: Matthew Baker
Author: Pamela Allan
Author: Caroline Cartwright
Author: Julienne Bernard
Author: Fraser Sturt
Author: Elena Kotoula
Author: Christopher Jazwa
Author: Kristina Gill
Author: Patrick Randolph-Quinney
Author: Thomas Ash
Author: Clare Bedford
Author: Devlin Gandy
Author: Matthew Armstong
Author: James Miles
Author: David Haviland

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