Feb 21, 2017 12:25 PM

Weed Found in Tombs of Ancient Altai Mummies

Dozens of years ago, Soviet archaeologists excavated an ancient royal couple entombed in ice in the Altai Mountains. A burial mound has been preserving their remains ever since. However, only now, modern technology can help scientists unravel the secrets of the past.

Two discovered mummies are believed to be a chieftain and his wife. After being found in 1949, the remains were kept in the famous Hermitage Museum without proper devices to examine them. The couple is known to the world as the owners of the two oldest carpets in the world. In addition, they gave us a new insight on the people of the ancient Siberian culture that lived hundreds of years before Christ.

However, earlier this year, the bodies were scanned with the latest medical technologies. Scientists are trying to establish the cause of death and restore the appearance of the couple. There are already some tomograph images that are being examined by archaeologists, radiologists, and biological anthropologists.

Along with some very interesting tattoos of the couple, the experts were surprised by the burned cannabis they found in the tomb. Presumably, the plant was burned while they were dispatched to the afterlife, which could be part of the burial ceremony. The bodies were mummified, which meant the removal of some organs. For instance, scientists found signs of trepanation—the brains of the couple were removed by drilling holes in their skulls. In addition, the two lacked intestines that had been pulled out through a slice in the midsection from ribs to the groin.

It is worth mentioning that another famous Altai mummy, the Princess of Ukok, was revealed to have died from breast cancer. The Siberian Ice Maiden was discovered a lot later than the chieftain and his wife. However, she was studied more meticulously. Surprisingly, one of the dishes in her tomb contained a substance that was identified as Cannabis sativa by the experts.

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The woman was a representative of the same Pazyryk culture as the above-mentioned couple. The cause of death of the royals remains unknown until all experts examine the images. However, the presence of weed in the tomb indicates that cannabis has been present in the ancient culture either as part of the mummification process or to treat ailments such as cancer or some other disease that killed the Altai couple.

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