The War on Drugs in 10,000 B.C.

New research published in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory suggests that the use of alcohol and drugs by prehistoric Europeans was highly regulated and restricted to sacred burial rituals, where intoxication was believed to be an integral part of communication with the spirit world.

Despite the fact that the consumption of mind-altering substances is as ancient as human society itself, it is only fairly recently that researchers have started to look into the historical and cultural contexts in which drugs were used in Europe.

Study author Elisa Guerra-Doce, of the Universidad de Valladolid (Spain) says that unlike modern man, prehistoric people in Europe did not use mind-altering substances simply for their hedonistic pleasure. “The use of alcohol and plant drugs – such as opium poppies and hallucinogenic mushrooms – was highly regulated and went hand-in-hand with the belief system and sacred burial rituals of many preindustrial societies,” she said. “Their use was an integral part of prehistoric beliefs, these substances were believed to aid in communication with the spiritual world.”

In Guerra-Doce’s research, four different types of archaeological documents were examined: the macrofossil remains of the leaves, fruits or seeds of psychoactive plants; residues suggestive of alcoholic beverages; psychoactive alkaloids found in archaeological artifacts and skeletal remains from prehistoric times; and artistic depictions of mood-altering plant species and drinking scenes. These remnants include bits of the opium poppy in the teeth of a male adult in a Neolithic site in Spain, charred cannabis seeds in bowls found in Romania, traces of barley beer on several ceramic vessels recovered in Iberia, and abstract designs in the Italian Alps that depict the ritual use of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Interestingly, these traces of sensory-altering products were mainly found in tombs and ceremonial locations. This is why Guerra-Doce believes the substances were linked to ritual usage. “They were consumed in order to alter the usual state of consciousness, or even to achieve a trance state. The details of the rituals are still unclear, but the hypothesis is that the substances were either used in the course of mortuary rites, to provide sustenance for the deceased in their journey into the afterlife, or as a kind of tribute to the underworld deities,” she said.

Given that these substances were a means to connect with the spirit world, she suggests that the right to use such “sacred” substances may have been highly regulated. “Far from being consumed for hedonistic purposes, drug plants and alcoholic drinks had a sacred role among prehistoric societies,” she argues. “It is not surprising that most of the evidence derives from both elite burials and restricted ceremonial sites, suggesting the possibility that the consumption of of mind-altering products was socially controlled in prehistoric Europe.”

Related:
Discuss this article in our forum
War on drugs might really be a war on sex
Incense Found To Be Psychoactive
“Significant association” found between use of psychedelic drugs and better mental health
Scientists scope effects of marijuana ingredients via MRI

Source: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, , , ,

Comments are closed.

4 Count Case GE ProLine 2 Bulb 120V T12 Electronic Fluorescent Light Ballasts picture

4 Count Case GE ProLine 2 Bulb 120V T12 Electronic Fluorescent Light Ballasts

$49.99



Accupro 703-00004-001  1 or 2 lamp T12 Rapid-Start Electronic Ballast  picture

Accupro 703-00004-001 1 or 2 lamp T12 Rapid-Start Electronic Ballast

$8.50



Philips ADVANCE AmbiStar RELB-2S40-N Replacement Ballast 40-Watt 2-Lamp T12 picture

Philips ADVANCE AmbiStar RELB-2S40-N Replacement Ballast 40-Watt 2-Lamp T12

$18.79



Ballast Box 3 Pt Hitch 800LBS Counterweight for Cat 1 Tractor Steel Heavy Duty picture

Ballast Box 3 Pt Hitch 800LBS Counterweight for Cat 1 Tractor Steel Heavy Duty

$193.99



Advance Instant-Start Ballast 2-Lamp F32T8 32W T8 120V REB-2P32-N  picture

Advance Instant-Start Ballast 2-Lamp F32T8 32W T8 120V REB-2P32-N

$9.98



NEW- KEYSTONE MH-400A-P-KIT 400W (M59) METAL HALIDE (MH) HID 5-TAP BALLAST KIT picture

NEW- KEYSTONE MH-400A-P-KIT 400W (M59) METAL HALIDE (MH) HID 5-TAP BALLAST KIT

$46.69



NEW-Universal Lighting M100MLTLC3M-500K 100W Metal Halide Ballast ReplacementKit picture

NEW-Universal Lighting M100MLTLC3M-500K 100W Metal Halide Ballast ReplacementKit

$36.69



Philips ADVANCE AmbiStar RELB-2S40-N Replacement Ballast 40-Watt 2-Lamp T12 picture

Philips ADVANCE AmbiStar RELB-2S40-N Replacement Ballast 40-Watt 2-Lamp T12

$18.79



Universal Ballast 827-BR-TC-P Lot of 2 For T12 Bulbs Made in USA picture

Universal Ballast 827-BR-TC-P Lot of 2 For T12 Bulbs Made in USA

$30.00



Ballast Box 3 Point Hitch Counterweight for Cat 1 Category 1 Tractor 800lb Green picture

Ballast Box 3 Point Hitch Counterweight for Cat 1 Category 1 Tractor 800lb Green

$191.99



Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes