Archaeologists discovered a possible hangover cure from the past in the form of a gold and purple amethyst ring. The ring was found in the ancient city of Yavne, Israel, at the site of the Byzantine era’s largest known winery.
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The Israel Antiquities Authority believes the 5.11-gram ring was worn to counteract the adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Amethyst is known for its many “virtues,” and it is thought to have religious associations because it is mentioned in the Bible.
The ring was discovered near the end of the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Early Islamic period, around the 7th century. However, according to the press release accompanying the discovery, the ring could be even older, possibly belonging to the city’s elites as early as the 3rd century CE.
The Romans were familiar with gold rings inlaid with amethyst stones. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the ring’s owner may have been an “affluent” individual, indicating their status and wealth. The discovery of the ring was only 150 meters away from the remains of a warehouse containing amphorae, a type of wine jar.
Archaeologists have long been intrigued by ancient hangover cures, and the discovery of the amethyst ring adds to a long list of possible remedies that have fallen out of favor. An ancient Greek treatment for drunken headaches was discovered on a 1,900-year-old papyrus in 2015, which recommended wearing a necklace of laurel leaves.
A physician was recorded in ancient Mesopotamia recommending a tincture of licorice, oleander, beans, oil, and wine for a “man who has taken strong wine and his head is affected.” However, the Israel Antiquities Authority admits that we will never know whether the amethyst ring was indeed used to prevent a hangover or belonged to an unlucky visitor who misplaced their valuable ring.
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