Cocaine and metabolites in the hair of ancient Peruvian coca leaf chewers

Angela C. Springfield, Larry W. Cartmell, Arthur C. Aufderheide, Jane Buikstra, Joyce Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Cocaine and its metabolites, benzoylecgonine (BZE) and ecgonine methylester (EME), were found in hair samples from ancient Peruvian coca-leaf chewers dating back to ad 1000. Hair was analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry ( GC MS) to quantitate the concentrations. The two metabolites were found in higher concentration than the parent drug. The metabolite levels appear to be below that of modern cocaine abusers. Gender does not appear to be a factor in the incorporation of drug into hair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Cocaine
  • GC MS
  • Hair
  • Mummies
  • Toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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