(WATCH JERUSALEM) Judahite worshipers in a temple at Tel Arad burned cannabis as part of their ritual worship some 2,700 years ago, new research has revealed. Furthermore, the finds at the site match closely with the reign and practices of Judah’s King Ahaz.
Tel Arad is an archaeological site in Israel’s Negev desert, southwest of the Dead Sea. The ancient hilltop fortress was in use from around the 10th-9th century to the sixth century b.c.e., and is known for its prominent temple. This temple is notable because it roughly parallels the layout of the holy temple in Jerusalem, described in 1 Kings 6. (A number of such temples have been discovered around Israel, pointing to a copy in design of the central temple of worship.)
During excavations in the 1960s, archaeologists uncovered the “holy of holies” room of this Arad outpost-temple, which included two limestone incense altars that had been buried at the end of the eighth century b.c.e. The top of these altars contained charred residue of the substances that had been ritually burned on top of them. But the researchers were unable to identify the burned substances—until now.
Advertisement - story continues below