boliviaboardA new Bolivian exhibit showcasing a collection of ritual artifacts provides insight into ancient indigenous ceremonies during which shamans took psychedelic substances.

The objects exhibited in a gallery in downtown La Paz belong to the ancient Tiwanaku culture, which spread over the Andean highlands between 2000 BC and 1500 AD.

The spear tips, polished stones with llama wool wrapped around them and colorful hand-woven fabrics were kept in bags made with puma or jaguar skin and used in rituals to invoke indigenous deities.

But the star of the show is a carved wooden board studded with colorful stones from which indigenous shamans inhaled a hallucinogenic preparation – a powder made with seeds from the cohoba tree, which can be found in several South American countries.

Archaeologist Pablo Rendon describes the board, which has a human figure carved into it, as “really spectacular.” Although plenty of similar stone boards have been discovered in the Andean region, only a handful of wooden ones have been uncovered.