Absorbed Residue Evidence of Datura Use in Mississippian Contexts

Author(s): Adam King; Terry Powis; Kong Cheong; Nilesh Gaikwad

Year: 2017


We recently identified residues indicative of the preparation of Datura in ceramic and shell vessels dating to the Mississippian period (900-1600 CE) of the southeastern United States in the collections of the Gilcrease Museum. Datura is a genus of flowering plants whose seeds and flowers contain tropane alkaloids that produce hallucinogenic effects when consumed by people. The use of Datura for a variety of medicinal ritual practices is well established among Native Americans today and in the recent past. The only other evidence for its use in North American prehistory comes from the recovery of charred seeds, a rare occurrence in the archaeological record. Absorbed residues present an opportunity to learn more about Datura use in the past and connect recent medicine traditions. In this paper we will use archaeological and iconographic information to explore ancient contexts of use and possible transmission as part of cultic institutions.

Cite this Record

Absorbed Residue Evidence of Datura Use in Mississippian Contexts. Adam King, Terry Powis, Kong Cheong, Nilesh Gaikwad. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431915)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15665