The ancient Romans could grow a narcotic plant for pain relief – scientists

The ancient Romans could grow a narcotic plant for pain relief – scientists


Archaeologists have discovered in a “bone vessel” found in the Netherlands, the seeds of the plant blekota black – a toxic hallucinogenic plant with medicinal and psychoactive properties.

According to a study published in the journal Antiquity, the seeds of black or “crazy grass” (Hyoscyamus niger) were found in a bone in Hauten-Castellum, a rural settlement of the Roman period in the territory of the modern Netherlands.

Based on the bioarchaeological analysis, it was determined that the femur of a sheep or goat served as a “vessel” for storing seeds. Since the bone was sealed with a cork made of birch tar, the researchers concluded that the seeds were not used accidentally, writes Arkeonews.

Archaeologists have determined that the seed was deliberately placed in a 7.2-centimeter-long bone that dates back to 70-100 AD.

Photo: Mike Groot

The seeds of the black locust were identified by the content of hyoscyamine in the tar.

This is the first known case where seeds were intentionally stored for later use.

According to scientists, the plant probably did not always grow by itself, but was rather cultivated.

The Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote about the many therapeutic uses of the plant almost 2,000 years ago. It was used for toothache, earache and insect bites. Researchers assume that then the plant was used in medicine and was not considered a drug.

The black bird is often found in archaeological sites in Northwestern Europe. Because it is wild and common near human settlements, it is difficult to determine whether it was planted intentionally.

Since this plant can grow in natural conditions in and around settlements, its seeds can get into archaeological sites naturally, without human intervention“, said Maike Groot, a leading author and archaeologist at the Free University of Berlin.

The new discoveries provide convincing evidence of the intentional use of the seeds of the black locust in the Roman period, scientists summarize.

We will remind you that earlier we wrote that scientists found evidence of cannibalism in an ancient human tribe of Europe.

Read also: Medical cannabis is legal. What will change when the new law comes into effect?



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