Californians gathered in a cave 500 years ago to erect under the paint of an hallucinogen

A study concluded that natives of California gathered in a cave – under a painting of a hallucinogen – to rise about five centuries ago.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and the United States found that the spiral art depicted on the wall of a cave south of Bakersfield resembles an intoxicating flower known as the “Holy Datura”.

Moreover, they found remnants of flower fibers that had been chewed and incorporated into the ceiling of the cave.

This discovery challenges a long-discussed theory – the paradigm of “altered states of consciousness” – that rock art makers may be in trance while painting.

The team said that instead of trying to depict the visual phenomena observed during the plant influence, the art represented the flower itself.

This picture of the plant may have helped impart knowledge about the plant in preparation for collective hallucinogenic experiences.

A study concluded that Native California people gathered in a cave – under a painting of an hallucinogenic plant, pictured – to rise about five centuries ago.

In their paper, the researchers explain that “proponents of the altered states of consciousness model have argued that hallucinogenic substances influenced the making of prehistoric images in caves and rock shelters.”

“However, there is no clear evidence of preparation and consumption of hallucinogenic substances directly related to any rock art site in the world.”

In their study, archaeologist David Robinson of the University of Central Lancashire and his colleagues analyzed fibrous masses called quids that were found in the ceiling of a pinwheel cave in California.

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The site takes its name from a red pinwheel-like design painted on the cave wall – which the team believes may represent Datura wrightii, a type of flower known for its hallucinogenic properties that native California residents used to induce euphoric states.

The team used a variety of techniques to analyze quids and determine chemical compositions and possible origin.

Liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy confirmed that the quoid contains the hallucinogen alkaloids atropine and scopolamine during electron microscopy revealed that most of the fibers came from Datura Wright.

Further analysis suggested that the quinoid was chewed – and thus it was possible that it was consumed in the cave where the plaques are.

The researchers also found evidence of other societal activities in the cave – specifically, projectile points and arrow pole straighteners that indicate weapons are being manufactured and retooled in preparation for hunting.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and the United States found that a spiral art form (pictured) drawn on a cave wall south of Bakersfield resembles an intoxicating flower known as

Researchers from the United Kingdom and the United States found that a spiral art form depicted on a cave wall south of Bakersfield resembles an intoxicating flower known as the 'Holy Datura' (pictured)

Researchers from the United Kingdom and the United States found that a spiral art form (left) drawn on a cave wall south of Bakersfield resembles an intoxicating flower known as the “Holy Datura” (right)

In their study, archaeologist David Robinson of the University of Central Lancashire and his colleagues analyzed fibrous masses called quids that were found embedded in the ceiling of a pinwheel cave in California, as pictured.

In their study, archaeologist David Robinson of the University of Central Lancashire and his colleagues analyzed fibrous masses called quids that were found embedded in the ceiling of a pinwheel cave in California, as pictured.

Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry confirmed that the quoid contained the hallucinogen alkaloids atropine and scopolamine while scanning electron microscopy (pictured) revealed that most of the fibers came from Datura Wright.

Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry confirmed that the quoid contained the hallucinogen alkaloids atropine and scopolamine while scanning electron microscopy (pictured) revealed that most of the fibers came from Datura Wright.

We’re providing the first clear evidence of hallucinogen ingestion at a rock art site, in this case, from Pinwheel Cave, California, the researchers concluded.

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They added, “ Quids in the ceiling of the cave appear to be Datura wrightii, an anthogen native to California.

This, they said, indicates that “instead of explaining the optical phenomena caused by datura, the rock paintings are likely to represent plants and pollinators.”

The full results of the study have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers also found evidence of other societal activities in the cave - specifically, projectile points (left) and arrow shaft straighteners (right) that indicate the manufacture and retrofitting of weapons in preparation for hunting.

The researchers also found evidence of other societal activities in the cave – specifically, projectile points (left) and arrow pole straighteners (right) that indicate weapons are being manufactured and retooled in preparation for hunting.

Pictured is a pinwheel cave.  The site takes its name from a red pinwheel-like design on the cave wall ¿which the team believes may represent Datura wrightii, a type of flower known for its hallucinogenic properties that native California residents used to induce euphoric states.

Pictured is a pinwheel cave. The site takes its name from a red pinwheel-like design painted on the cave wall – which the team believes may represent Datura wrightii, a type of flower known for its hallucinogenic properties that native California residents used to induce euphoric states.

In their study, archaeologist David Robinson of the University of Central Lancashire and his colleagues analyzed fibrous masses called quids that were found embedded in the ceiling of a pinwheel cave in California.

In their study, archaeologist David Robinson of the University of Central Lancashire and his colleagues analyzed fibrous masses called quids that were found embedded in the ceiling of a pinwheel cave in California.

Cave Art: Works dating back nearly 40,000 years have been discovered

The most famous cave art can be found in Spain and France, but it is found all over the world.

The history of the famous cave art of the Highest Paleolithic in Europe dates back about 21,000 years.

In recent years, scholars have recorded cave art found in Indonesia that is believed to be around 40,000 years old – before the most famous European cave art.

The author of the new report, Shigeru Miyagawa, explained in the analysis how common the cave drawings are.

He said: Cave art is everywhere. Every major continent inhabited by Homo sapiens has cave art.

“You find it in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere – just like human language.”

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