Home Tech Romans may have used a poisonous plant as a hallucinogenic drug 2,000 years ago, study finds

Romans may have used a poisonous plant as a hallucinogenic drug 2,000 years ago, study finds

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Archaeologists have discovered hundreds of black henbane seeds in a hollow bone
  • Archaeologists have discovered black henbane seeds in a hollow human bone
  • These seeds have been used as medicine and narcotic.

The Romans are known to have been one of the most influential civilizations in the world.

But even they may have enjoyed a little escapism, in the form of powerful hallucinogens, a study suggests.

Archaeologists have discovered hundreds of black henbane seeds in a hollow bone at the rural Roman settlement of Houten-Castellum in the Netherlands.

These seeds come from a poisonous plant, which is part of the nightshade family, and have been used as medicine and narcotic.

So far no conclusive evidence of the use of black henbane since Roman times has been found.

Archaeologists have discovered hundreds of black henbane seeds in a hollow bone

The Romans are known to have been one of the most influential civilizations in the world. But even they may have enjoyed a little escapism, in the form of powerful hallucinogens, a study suggests.

The Romans are known to have been one of the most influential civilizations in the world. But even they may have enjoyed a little escapism, in the form of powerful hallucinogens, a study suggests.

But experts said placing seeds inside a hollowed sheep or goat bone, sealed with a plug of black birch bark tar, indicates the seeds were intentionally stored there about 2,000 years ago.

Historical texts suggest that henbane may have been used as a pain reliever and sleeping remedy.

But others warn that it can also have strong hallucinogenic effects, causing loss of muscle control, dilation of pupils, visions and even inducing a sensation of flying.

While this is the first example of black henbane found in a vessel from the Roman period, it is unclear exactly what its intended use was, the researchers said.

The remains were discovered by archaeologists at the rural Roman settlement of Houten-Castellum in the Netherlands.

The remains were discovered by archaeologists at the rural Roman settlement of Houten-Castellum in the Netherlands.

Writing in the journal Antiquity, the Freie Universit√§t Berlin team said: “Black henbane is an extremely poisonous plant species that can also be used as a medicinal or psychoactive drug.”

“There are rare cases in which intentional human use of black henbane can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

‘Only a few archaeological examples can be cited: one find in a tomb and three finds in hospitals.

“The discovery at Houten-Castellum in the Roman Netherlands of a bone cylinder closed at one end with a plug of birch bark tar and filled with black henbane seeds therefore constitutes an important new case for the deliberate collection and use of seeds of this plant.’

How England spent almost half a millennium under Roman rule

55 a. C.: Julius Caesar crossed the channel with around 10,000 soldiers. They landed at Pegwell Bay on the Isle of Thanet and encountered a force of British. Caesar was forced to retreat.

54 a. C.: Caesar crossed the channel again in his second attempt to conquer Great Britain. He arrived with 27,000 infantry and cavalry and landed at Deal, but met no opposition. They marched inland and after tough battles they defeated the British and key tribal leaders surrendered.

However, that same year, Caesar was forced to return to Gaul to solve the problems there and the Romans left.

54 BC – 43 BC – Although no Romans were present in Britain during these years, their influence increased due to trade links.

AD 43: A Roman force of 40,000 men led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the southeast. Emperor Claudius appointed Plautius governor of Great Britain and returned to Rome.

47 AD – Londinium (London) is founded and Britain is declared part of the Roman Empire. Road networks were built throughout the country.

50 AD: The Romans arrived in the southwest and left their mark in the form of a wooden fort on a hill near the River Exe. Decades later a city was created on the site of the fort and was called Isca.

When the Romans permitted and the Saxons ruled, all ex-Roman cities were called “ceaster”. this was called ‘Exe ceaster’ and a merger of this eventually gave rise to Exeter.

75 – 77 AD – The Romans defeated the last resistant tribes, turning all of Britain Roman. Many Britons began to adopt Roman customs and laws.

122 AD: Emperor Hadrian ordered a wall to be built between England and Scotland to keep out Scottish tribes.

312 AD: Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.

228 AD – The Romans were being attacked by barbarian tribes and soldiers stationed in the country began to be called to Rome.

410 AD: All Romans were called to Rome and Emperor Honorius told the British that they no longer had a connection with Rome.

Fountain: History on the web

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