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A team of scientists has discovered traces of cannabis and incense at an ancient biblical shrine in Israel, and suggests that the substances may have been used for hallucinogenic purposes during theworship ceremonies. The results of the study were published this Thursday in the journal Tel Aviv.
It is the Tel Arad shrine, of2,700 years old, where two limestone altars approximately 40 and 50 centimeters high were found, with a dark material on top.
Upon relevant analysis, the experts found cannabis residue that would have been mixed withanimal manure to allow gentle heating. Likewise, the largest altar contained substances derived from incense with the presence of animal fat, suggesting that the two components were mixed to facilitate evaporation on the spot.
“We can assume that the fragrance of the incense gave a special atmosphere to the worship in the shrine, while the burning of cannabis brought at least some of the priests and faithful to a religious state ofconsciousness or ecstasy«Explained the principal investigator, Eran Arie.
Finally, the authors concluded that "Arad provides the earliest evidence for cannabis use in the ancient Near East," and noted that while hallucinogenic use is known in several neighboring cultures, this isthe first sample in the ancient kingdom of Judah.