Opium remains found in 3,500-year-old earthenware jars in Tel Yehud

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(ORDO NEWS) — Reuters reported the discovery of traces of herbal drugs in vessels used in ancient Canaanite burial rituals. This is one of the earliest evidence of drug use in the world.

Discovered in 2012 during excavations in Tel Yehud, Israel, Late Bronze Age vessels shaped like upside-down poppy flowers were found in Canaanite graves, where they were probably used in funeral ceremonies to make offerings to the dead in the afterlife.

The study was conducted by Tel Aviv University, the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Chemical analysis of organic remains from eight vessels showed that they contained a plant drug (opium), some of which was made locally, and some – in Cyprus.

Scientists date the finds to the 14th century BC, according to an article published in the journal Archaeometry.

Archaeologists are not yet able to answer the question of how exactly the Canaanites used it in their funerary rituals.

In 2020, researchers confirmed that traces of another 8th-century BC natural drug were found on an altar at a 3,000-year-old ancient Israelite sanctuary in the Negev desert.


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