Near Eastern Seminar Series (NESS) | Professor Alison Betts: Ecstasy Meets Paleoethnobotany
Professor Alison Betts | University of Sydney
Ecstasy Meets Paleoethnobotany: Botanical Stimulants in Ancient Inner Asia
Archaeobotanical research is often focused on plants collected or cultivated for food consumption, with less attention paid to plants used for medicinal or ritual purposes. The prehistory and early history of Inner Asia offers some interesting evidence for the possible use of botanical stimulants, with evidence derived from the archaeological record and literary sources. This paper presents a discussion of this fragmentary but important data.
Professor Alison Betts is Edwin Cuthbert Hall Chair of Archaeology and Mythology of the Ancient Middle East at the University of Sydney. Her research interests spread across Asia from Xinjiang to the Levant. She obtained her PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1986 on the Prehistory of the Black Desert of Eastern Jordan. She has led fieldwork in Jordan, Uzbekistan, Xinjiang and Kashmir and has a wide variety of interests in mechanisms of cultural transmission, hunting traps, nomadic peoples, game drives and the early history of Zoroastrianism.
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