Opium dating back to 14th century BC found in Israel

STORY: Opium traces dating back to 14th century BC were found on these ancient vessels

Locator: Jerusalem

Researchers say the discovery shows one of the world’s earliest uses of the drug

The vessels were found at Canaanite graves in Israel and likely used in burial ceremonies

Opium's precise role in those ceremonies remains a mystery

(Ron Beeri, Israel Antiquities Authority)

"Inside vessels of this type we found traces of opium and it is possible that this vessel was intended to pour liquid such as distilled opium mixed with liquid into the cup and this liquid would have been drunk by the priest above the grave, and through the process of drinking, he would enter an ecstatic state."

The Late Bronze Age vessels were discovered in a 2012 excavation in central Israel

"These tools were found in huge quantities in excavations from the areas of Greece and Italy to Egypt and in particular in the area of southern Levant and Egypt. The significance is that if these vessels really contained opium, it indicates how popular this product was and how much it was consumed during this period."