Economic Botany

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 292–301 | Cite as

Archaeological evidence of coca (Erythroxylum coca, erythroxylaceae) in the upper mantaro valley, Peru

  • Christine A. Hastorf


Prehistoric remains of coca (Erythroxylum spp.) are rarely uncovered by archaeologists or positively identified by botanists because of their fragile nature and the lack of rigorous archaeological collection techniques. This absence of plant evidence has made evolutionary studies of diffusion and use of coca difficult. From special depositional conditions in the Mantaro area of central Peru, one coca leaf and two endocarps have been uncovered and identified as Erythroxylum coca var. coca. These three specimens came from elite-status contexts dating to the Late Intermediate and the Late Horizon-Early Colonial Periods. These remains provide the first highland evidence for access to coca-producing, ceja de montaña farms, which lie more than 50 km away on the eastern slope of the Andes.


Cocaine Peru Ecuador Late Intermediate Coca Leave 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine A. Hastorf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Center for Ancient StudiesUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis

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