The use of coca leaves in the Peruvian central highlands before the Inka
coca leaves, Ayacucho Valley, south coast, Peru
Coca is a non-frost resistant tropical rain forest plant that cannot be cultivated in the highlands. In spite of being non-native to the highlands, coca leaves play a central role in the life of highland populations. Early documents left by the Spaniards indicate that coca leaves were not only very important, but also had different uses. Here it is my aim to explore whether coca leaves were also important before the Inka State. In order to do that, first I will provide with a brief review of the uses of caca leaves within the Inka State and contemporary highland populations of the Central Andes.
Presented on March 1, 2014 at the 42nd Annual Midwest Conference on Andean and Amazonian Archaeology and Ethnohistory held at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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