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Evidence of drug use during Bronze Age ritual ceremonies has been discovered in Europe for the first time
Analysis of human hair has revealed the earliest direct evidence of people taking hallucinogenic drugs in Europe about 3,000 years ago...
A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports1 has found evidence of drug use during Bronze Age ceremonies in Menorca, Spain. The study analyzed strands of human hair from a burial site and found traces of three alkaloid substances known to produce altered states of consciousness: ephedrine, atropine and scopolamine.
The researchers believe that these substances were likely used as part of ritual ceremonies, and that they may have been ingested orally or smoked. They also suggest that the use of these drugs may have been associated with shamanism or other forms of religious or spiritual practice.
This is the first direct evidence of drug use in Europe during the Bronze Age, and it provides new insights into the beliefs and practices of people during this time period. The study also suggests that the use of psychoactive drugs may have been more widespread in Europe than previously thought.
The researchers hope that their findings will lead to further research into the use of drugs in Bronze Age Europe, and that it will help to shed light on the cultural and religious beliefs of this time period.
Guerra-Doce, E., Rihuete-Herrada, C., Micó, R. et al. Direct evidence of the use of multiple drugs in Bronze Age Menorca (Western Mediterranean) from human hair analysis. Sci Rep 13, 4782 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-31064-2