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Early Holocene coca chewing in northern Peru

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2010

Tom D. Dillehay*
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA Instituto de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
Jack Rossen
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Donald Ugent
Affiliation:
Department of Botany, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA
Anathasios Karathanasis
Affiliation:
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, KY 40506, USA
Víctor Vásquez
Affiliation:
Laboratorio de Arqueobiología, Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Perú
Patricia J. Netherly
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

Abstract

Chewing coca in South America began by at least 8000 cal BP: our authors found and identified coca leaves of that date in house floors in the Nanchoc Valley, Peru. There were also pieces of calcite — which is used by chewers to bring out the alkaloids from the leaves. Excavation and chemical analysis at a group of neighbouring sites suggests that specialists were beginning to extract and supply lime or calcite, and by association coca, as a community activity at about the same time as systematic farming was taking off in the region.

Type
Research articles
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 2010

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