Puff puff pass—and paint?

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A rock art panel at Dripping Springs, New Mexico. Photo: Courtesy L. Loendorf via Western Digs

It appears as if ancient artisans had some, ahem, help in creating the abstract paintings found at dozens of rock art sites in Dripping Springs, New Mexico. Archaeologists have noticed a correlation between rocks embellished with red, yellow and black triangle motifs and the plants with hallucinogenic properties that grow beneath them, reports the Western Digs blog. Scholars believe that shamans smoked the particularly strong variety of wild tobacco and datura before they set to work on their paintings. “I think almost certainly that they’re trancing on this stuff,” says Lawrence Loendorf, the president of the Sacred Sites Research archaeological firm. Around 24 drawings have been found so far in an area of southern New Mexico once occupied by the Jornada Mogollon culture.

From In The Frame

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