Click to view The people who settled the Caribbean Islands over 1500 years ago brought with them special ceramic bowls (similar to those pictured) for holding hallucinogenic drugs that they sniffed through long, ceramic straws. More surprising than their modern drug ritual, however, is the fact that these "sniffing bowls" were already hundreds of years old when the colonists arrived in the West Indies. It turns out that one of the most ancient forms of the family heirloom was a bowl used for taking drugs. A new study by North Carolina State archaeologist Scott Fitzpatrick revealed that the South Americans who colonized the island of Carriacou arrived with sniffing bowls that had been made sometime between 400 and 100 BC. Because the island was colonized in 400 AD, that would mean these drug bowls had been in the colonists' families for possibly 800 years before they sailed for the West Indies. According to a forthcoming paper co-authored by Fitzpatrick in the Journal of Archaeological Science:
The research team used a dating technique called luminescence to determine the age of several artifacts found on the Caribbean island of Carriacou . . . Luminescence testing involves heating a substance and measuring the amount of light it gives off to determine how long ago it was last heated.
Though scholars have long thought that colonists of the West Indies brought heirlooms with them, this is the first physical proof. Evidence for Inter-Island Transport of Heirlooms [via Journal of Archaeological Science]