Cool!Funny/WeirdMusic History

Is psych music more than 2,000 years old? Maybe

Humans have been ingesting mind-altering substances for millennia.

Pech Merle, prehistoric cave paintings deep underground in France that are up to 50,000 years old, feature recurring themes and patterns, including highly abstract renderings of human forms and animals and snakes along with fairly standard geometric shapes. Similar prehistoric cave paintings can be found in Spain and Italy. Southern Africa, there are paintings on rock faces that depict the same thing, right down to those standardized geometric shapes. And we find the same thing in South America and even in parts of southern North America..

How could different prehistoric peoples, separated by thousands and thousands of miles, all be inspired to paint the same things over and over again, often in total darkness under the most claustrophobic circumstances imaginable? Could it be…drugs?

A few studies seem to indicate that anyone who takes certain hallucinogens will see the same sorts of things, including certain geometric shapes, weird human forms, funny looking animals and snakes. Ask anyone who’s into LSD or peyote or certain mushrooms. There’s a theory that these prehistoric cave paintings are actually representations of the freaky images ancient dope-smokers used to see while tripping out. This strangely beautiful art created more than 500 centuries ago was, in fact, created by junkies.

Now a series of very, very old engravings found in southern Peru site called Toro Muerto are under discussion. It’s thought that they might represent music performed during various rituals involving hallucinogens about 2,000 years ago. There are more of those standardized shapes seen in cave paintings plus depictions of people dancing and singing while high.

Check out the images and the discussion of the find here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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