Israeli archaeologists discover traces of opium in 3,500-year-old pottery

Israeli archaeologists discover traces of opium in 3,500-year-old pottery

Israeli archaeologists have found opium residue in 3,500-year-old pottery items, offering proof to assist the idea that the hallucinogenic drug was utilized in historical burial rituals.

The joint investigation by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Weizmann Institute of Science started in 2012 when excavations within the central Israeli city of Yehud revealed a sequence of late bronze-age graves.

Researchers discovered pottery vessels on the web site that resembled poppy flowers – from which opium is derived – courting to the 14th century BC.

They examined whether or not they had served as containers for the drug, which earlier writing had prompt was utilized in burial rituals in Canaan, and located “opium residue in eight vessels”, the researchers stated.

These had been most likely “positioned in graves for ceremonial meals, rites and rituals carried out by the dwelling for his or her deceased members of the family”, stated Ron Be’eri, an archaeologist with the antiquities authority.

Throughout these ceremonies, “members of the family or a priest on their behalf” would “try and summon the spirit of their lifeless family members … and enter an ecstatic state by utilizing opium”, Be’eri stated.

However he acknowledged that a lot remained unknown about its use in historical instances. “We will solely speculate what was accomplished with opium,” he stated.

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