During an excavation of an ancient Chinese tomb in northern China, archaeologists were surprised to find female cannabis plants surrounding the skeleton. Specifically, about 13 plants were used as a sort of burial shroud. The man in question appeared to be Caucasian and around 35 years old at the time of his death.
This Finding Could Prove The Use Of Cannabis In Ancient China
Located in the Tupan Basin, the tomb was found among 240 others. Carbon dating showed it to be at least 2,400 years old. The body was placed on a wooden bed, with pillows made of reeds, and was surrounded by clay pots. The weeds are between 19 and 35 inches long and are the first “complete cannabis plants” to be uncovered by archeologists.
Researchers from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences believe the tomb belonged to the shaman. They also suggest that this discovery proves that cannabis may have been used in ancient medicine, rituals or both. The fact that the weed was found in a cemetery may suggest that the psychoactive effects of the plant may have been used as a way to communicate with the spirits of the dead.
It’s Not The First Time Archaeologists Find Weed
Ten years ago, processed cannabis was found in a Yanghai cemetery, also in northern China. Seeds were once found in Siberia, in a tomb belonging to a woman who is thought to have died of breast cancer. In that particular situation, weed may have been used as a traditional painkiller.
The cemetery in which the latest finding took place is thought to have belonged to the Subeixi culture. The Subeixi were mostly shepherds but had slowly implemented agriculture into their lives.
While it is possible that cannabis was used for other purposes than its psychoactive effect, findings show that it is also unlikely. None of the clothes found in the tombs were made out of hemp, and the seeds were deemed too small to offer any nutritional value.
More so, the Tupan Basin is supposed to have been an important stop on the ancient Silk Road that connected China to the Mediterranean. It would be at least interesting if archaeologists find weed again and discover that it was a “Weed Road” as well. Thus, we could better understand the various uses of the plant throughout ancient times.
Image source: Wikipedia