Thursday, November 22, 2018

Biblical spices — plus vanilla at Megiddo

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: A Biblical Spice Rack. Herbs and spices of the ancient Near East (Devorah Emmet Wigoder).
In ancient times, herbs—the edible leaves, blossoms and soft stems of annuals and perennials—were used primarily as medicine. According to the apocryphal Book of Jubilees,1 angels revealed to Noah all the illnesses of the world and their remedies so that he could “heal by means of the herbs of the earth” (Jubilees 10:12). Noah diligently recorded the cures in a book. Below, I, like Noah, record the herbs and spices of the Near East throughout history.

Also, timely, in light of an announcement last week at the ASOR conference (at the same time as AAR/SBL): Residue found in 3,600-year-old Holy Land tomb rewrites the history of vanilla. World’s 2nd most expensive spice was thought to have been introduced 13,000 miles away and thousand of years later, until analysis of burial offerings at Canaanite tomb in Megiddo (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).

It seems that traces of vanilla extract have been found at Megiddo, dating to c. 1600 BCE. Vanilla is not mentioned in the Bible, but now it seems that it may have been in use in the region even before the Israelite period.

I have already blogged on Meggido Tomb 50 and its impressive assemblage of organic remains.

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