Hemp Helped Preserve Ancient Sites in India
Friday, March 11, 2016
AURANGABAD, INDIA—A new study shows that the rock-cut temples of India’s Ellora Caves have been preserved in part because of the special properties of a clay plaster covering the interior of the shrines. Botanist Milind M. Sardesai and archaeochemist Rajdeo Singh used a scanning electron microscope to study plaster from the walls and ceiling of a Buddhist temple at the site dating to the sixth century A.D. They discovered that the mixture consisted of at least ten percent cannabis. "The cannabis fiber appears to have a better quality and durability than other fibers," Sardesai told Discovery News. “Moreover, the cannabis’ gum and sticky properties might have helped clay and lime to form a firm binder.” According to the researchers, the cannabis plaster was also insect-resistant and helped regulate humidity in the cave. Nearby cave temples that weren't insulated with cannabis plaster are in a poorer state of preservation than the Ellora Cave shrines. To see images of another spectacular site in India, go to “The Islamic Stepwells of Gujarat."
Pirates of the Caribbean, evidence for the oldest Irishman, Iron Age Swiss cheese, India’s cannabis frescoes, and the Silk Road route to Nepal