New information has been released about the Scythians, an ancient and fierce group of nomadic people known for conquering many civilizations from Mongolia to the Black Sea.
Stories of the Scythian people and the mass graves they left behind, called kurgans, were first shared in text by Greek historian Herodotus. Herodotus also wrote about a Scythian ritual involving a “plant used to produce smoke”:
“…that no Grecian vapour-bath can surpass … transported by the vapor, [they] shout aloud.”
Now thanks to archaeologist Andrei Belinski for excavating one of the kurgans in Russia, we understand a little more about these vapor rituals, which included the use of both cannabis and opium.
Although first discovered in 2013, these artifacts have been kept secret until now, in an attempt to prevent looters from entering the dig site. Thankfully, all items are now safely being stored in Berlin where Anton Gass, an archaeologist at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation reported:
“It’s a once-in-a-century discovery. These are among the finest objects we know from the region.”
Items found inside the clay chamber, which contained these items made of gold for 2,400 years, included:
- Two bucket-shaped gold vessels
- Three gold cups
- One heavy gold finger ring
- Two neck rings
- One gold bracelet
Lining the inside of the bucket-shaped gold vessels was a “black residue,” which once analyzed, turned out to be a combination of cannabis and opium.
Although some reports say that these items were used to make a bong for smoking the plants, it is more likely that they were brewed and consumed in liquid form. Either way, this recent discovery is another form of proof that cannabis has been consumed for centuries throughout the world.
photo credit: ANDREI BELINSKY