Ancient Family Heirlooms Used to Snort Hallucinogens

Inhaling bowls — shallow vessels with two adjacent spouts — are artifacts found on many Caribbean islands. Early Amerindians probably used them to snort hallucinogens, liquid or powdered, through the nose. Now ponder this. Three inhaling bowls unearthed on the island of Carriacou, near Grenada in the Antilles, were made around 400 B.C., according to an analysis of radioactive isotopes conducted by Scott M. Fitzpatrick of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and several colleagues. Yet Carriacou was first settled 800 years later, around A.D. 400. Moreover, one of the bowls was found among archaeological deposits dating from about A.D. 1000. And the mineral content of the bowls indicates that they probably weren’t manufactured on Carriacou. So the bowls must have come from another island — one possibility is Puerto Rico, 465 miles away, where other bowls of similar antiquity have been discovered. And they must have been kept around for at least eight, if not 14 centuries. What could account for such endurance? The bowls were not buried in the manner of ritual offerings. Fitzpatrick thinks they were probably passed on from generation to generation as useful or treasured heirlooms. The findings were detailed in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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