Israeli archaeologists recently detected residue of cannabis on items discovered at what appears to be a First Temple-era religious site not far from the Dead Sea. Israel Hayom reports:
In a research paper, the authors say the discovery from an 8th-century BCE shrine at Tel Arad offers the first proof for “the use of mind-altering substances as part of cultic rituals in Judah.” . . . Archaeological excavations at Tel Arad, located around 35 miles south of Jerusalem, in the 1960s discovered a stronghold belonging to the ancient kingdom of Judah, and at its core a small shrine bearing striking similarities to the biblical Temple in Jerusalem.
But for decades, attempts to determine the composition of black deposits found on two limestone altars from the shrine’s inner sanctum—now located at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem—were inconclusive. Chemical analysis of the samples conducted at Israel’s Hebrew University and Technion Institute found that one altar contained the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana, and the other had traces of frankincense—one of the ingredients mentioned in the Bible for the incense sacrifice in the ancient Jewish Temples.