Inca children drugged before being sacrificed

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 Inca children were drugged before being sacrificed

Inca children chosen for ritual sacrifice were drugged to keep them calm before death, a new study of ancient hair and nails has confirmed.

The study analyzed in detail the toxicological samples of two six-year-old Inca children who were sacrificed on Peru's Ampato volcano. The sacrifice, called capacocha, was performed by priests.

It was a common practice in ancient Inca society. This is how important events were celebrated – a royal wedding or victory in a war. It was also a means of population control.

The study was conducted by an international team of scientists from Poland, the United States and Peru and published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Archaeologists have found traces of cocaine and numerous hallucinogenic chemicals such as mescaline, tryptamine, harmaline and harmine, which have psychoactive properties.

They found that in the last days and weeks of the victim's life, the leaves were chewed coca and were stupefied with ayahuasca, a drink made primarily from the South American hallucinogenic flowering yage grape.

Researchers speculate that the Incas deliberately used the plant's properties to calm their victims. Children most likely knew what awaited them, and in such a situation, hallucinogens were a very effective means of preparing the victim for the ritual.

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