Archaeologists Uncover Evidence Of Psychedelics, Female Worship At Ancient Biblical Site


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A study published Feb. 12 details discoveries from two Philistine temples in the Biblical city of Gath, Israel, which may have been influenced by other Mediterranean cultures.

Gath is known today as Tell es-Ṣâfī, but was once the home of Goliath, and is one of the largest Philistine settlements on the banks of the HaEla river in the Judean foothills, the study authors noted. Recent excavations revealed the presence of various medicinal and psychoactive (psychedelic) plants, such as poison darnel, which were often used in ancient Greek temples in the worship of female deities.

The temples were built in the 10th century B.C. and 830 B.C. and were destroyed by the Biblical King Hazel. The history of the Philistines is something of a mystery, so analysis of the temple yielded a surprising amount of data, according to the Times of Israel.

Loom weights, cooking facilities and a storage jar from Jerusalem were uncovered in the dig, suggesting women weaved in the temples, offering their wares to the Gods. The plants uncovered are believed to have been prepared in situ and were part of the religious practice of the Philistines.

These practices were likely influenced by other Mediterranean practices, such as those observed in Greece, or perhaps the Philistines introduced their practices to these cultures?

Examples include the presence of the chaste tree, along with 100 fruits, which were often used by Spartans in the worship of Artemis and Asclepios, Times of Israel continued. The crown daisy flower was also present, which is used as a medicine and insecticide. The flowers were also used to make crown garlands for statues — a practice still common for young people in Europe today (we call them “daisy chains”).

“These widespread Mediterranean plants connect Philistines with cultic rituals, mythology, and paraphernalia related to early Greek deities, such as Hera, Artemis, Demeter, and Asclepios,” lead researcher Dr. Suembikya Frumin said, the outlet continued.

As for the psychedelic plants, these were probably used as part of the Philistine ritual to enhance the overall spiritual effect.

“The study revealed that the Philistine religion relied on the magic and power of nature, such as running water and seasonality, aspects that influence human health and life,” Frumin argued. (RELATED: Roman-Era ‘Death Magic’ Tools Used To Communicate With The Dead Found Near Jerusalem)

Future research will focus on further analysis of the sites, as well as comparing the discoveries to other ancient Mediterranean cultures and their holy sites, like the Minoans of Crete and Herakles in Sicily.