Economic Botany

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 189–203 | Cite as

Plant Hallucinogens and the religion of the Mochica—an ancient Peruvian people

  • Marlene Dobkin de Rios


This article has attempted to reinterpret a now extinct prehistoric people, the Mochica of Peru, in light of our knowledge of contemporary regional hallucinogenic use. An analysis of Mochica pottery motifs suggests the use of a variety of plant hallucinogens which may have permitted access to supernatural realms. I have argued that studies such as this of prehistoric peoples show the central role that hallucinogenic plants have had throughout time and present a new path to the understanding of prehistoric religions.


Economic Botany Peru Mescaline Hallucinogenic Drug Spiritual Power 
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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlene Dobkin de Rios
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyCalifornia State UniversityFullerton

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