New research reveals Cannabis and Frankincense at the Judahite Shrine of Biblical Arad


Graphic: Front look at of the shrine at Arad, rebuilt in the Israel Museum. The best?down look at of the altars: on the place you can see the black residue of hashish and frankincense…
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Credit score: (Assortment of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Picture © The Israel Museum, by Laura Lachman.

Investigation of the materials on two Iron Age altars uncovered at the entrance to the “holy of holies” of a shrine at Tel Arad in the Beer-sheba Valley, Israel, were being identified to consist of Cannabis and Frankincense, in accordance to new posting in the journal, Tel Aviv.

Previous excavations disclosed two superimposed fortresses, dated to the 9th to early 6th centuries BCE, which guarded the southern border of biblical Judah. Hugely important Iron Age finds were being unearthed, such as a properly-preserved shrine that was dated to ca. 750-715 BCE.

Two limestone altars (the more compact altar is 40 cm higher and about 20 × 20 cm at the best the much larger is about fifty cm higher and 30 × 30 cm at the best) were being identified lying at the entrance to the “holy of holies” of the shrine.

Evidently, they had played an important job in the cult tactics of the shrine. An unidentified black solidified natural and organic materials was preserved on the altars’ surfaces. Previous assessment of these resources unsuccessful to establish their content and this dim materials was a short while ago submitted to natural and organic residue assessment by fashionable techniques.

The study reveals that on the more compact altar hashish had been combined with animal dung to facilitate heating, whilst the much larger altar contained traces of frankincense that was combined with animal fat to advertise evaporation.

These special results shed new light on cult tactics in biblical Judah, suggesting hashish was used in this article as a deliberate psychoactive, to stimulate ecstasy as element of cultic ceremonies.

Guide author Eran Arie from The Israel Museum in Jerusalem commented, “This is the very first time that hashish has been identified in the Historical Around East Its use in the shrine will have to have played a central job in the cultic rituals done there.”

Frankincense arrives from Arabia. Consequently, the presence of frankincense at Arad signifies the participation of Judah in the south Arabian trade even in advance of the patronage and encouragement of the Assyrian empire. Arad supplies the earliest proof for frankincense in a apparent cultic context. Frankincense is outlined as a component of the incense that was burned in the Temple of Jerusalem for its pleasurable aroma.

The “fortress mound” of Tel Arad in the Beer-sheba Valley in southern Israel was excavated about fifty decades back beneath the route of the late TAU Professor Yohanan Aharoni.


For an interview, be sure to make contact with:

Eran Arie, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Email: [email protected]


Dvory Namdar, Volcani Centre of Agricultural Analysis

Email: [email protected]

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