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Mystery of the Cocaine Mummies
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How did Tobacco find its way into Egyptian Mummies ?
False Mummies
9%
 9%  [ 1 ]
Ancient Trade Route
9%
 9%  [ 1 ]
Ancient Species of Tobacco
45%
 45%  [ 5 ]
Contamination
36%
 36%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 11

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Nefertari86
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:43 pm    Post subject: Mystery of the Cocaine Mummies Reply with quote

Has anyone else heard about this ?

Basically German Toxicologist Svetla Balabanova was enlisted to preform Drug tests on Mummies from the Munich Museum. She learned that many of them in particular that of the Priestess Henut Taui contained traces of Tobacco. The probelm was that popular opinion was that Tobacco was not known outside America until after Columbus. But hair shaft tests showed that the drug was present inside the shaft meaning it had to have benn taken before death.

Then other experts began testing Mummies and discovered Tobacco for example the substance was found in Mummies from the British Musuem by their keeper Dr.Rosalie David. There was even some found on the bandages of the great Rameses 2 himself by Dr.Michele Lescaux!

So how can we expalin it ?

False mummies made in the 1800s by greedy Antique dealers ?
An Ancient trade route across the Atlantic ?
An ancient unkowm species of Tobacco?
Contamination of the mummies and/or the equipment used to test them ?

Opinions anyone ?
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seriously think this whole idea of ancient Egyptians snorting coke or smoking tobacco is fringey-not as pyramidiotic as other theories but almost there, I'm afraid...so I'm inclined to go towards the contamination theory, or maybe the fakes. I don't believe the Egyptians ever travelled to America (sorry about that-I'm afraid that I've turned even more sceptical than I used to be!)
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cocaine in mummies seems to be serious research. There's an article taken up in the official Ancient Egyptian Bibliography (AEB) published by the University of Leiden. This site (and the bibliography) does not delve into fringe theory.

NERLICH, Andreas G., Franz PARSCHE, Irmgard WIEST, Peter SCHRAMEL and Udo LĂ–HRS, Extensive pulmonary haemorrhage in an Egyptian mummy, Virchows Archiv. An International Journal of Pathology, Berlin - Heidelberg 427 (1995), 423-429. (ill.).

Report on the morphological and trace element findings of several internal organs from an Egyptian mummy approximately dating from the year 950 B.C. according to C-14-analysis. By use of a multidisciplinary approach the authors succeeded in discovering evidence for severe and presumably recurrent pulmonary bleeding during life. This was suggested by the finding of massive haemosiderin deposits in the lung and a selectively and markedly elevated level of iron in trace element analysis of the lung tissue. Furthermore, an enhanced deposition of birefringent particles in the lung tissue, without significant fibrosis, was observed. The histological analysis of liver, stomach and intestine confirmed the macroscopic organ diagnoses without evidence of any major pathological processes. In addition, analysis for various drugs revealed a significant deposition of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), nicotine and cocaine in several organs of the mummy. The concentration profiles additionally provide evidence for a preferential inhalation of THC, while nicotine and cocaine containing drugs seem to have been consumed orally. Authors

It may be that there are other plants that contain similar carcotics that were present in Ancient Egypt.
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Rozette
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Mystery of the Cocaine Mummies


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the 21st dynasty of the Pharaos, 3,000 years ago, there took place one night at a temple, the funeral of Henut Taui - the Lady of the Two lands.

Compared to the great rulers of Egypt, her burial was a modest affair. But just like the Pharaos, she too was mummified, and her body placed in the depths of a desert tomb, in the belief it would give her immortality.

In an unexpected way, it has. Her mummified body waited throughout recorded history - the Greeks and Romans, the Dark and Middle ages, the Renaissance and Napoleon, until in the early 19th century, her tomb was plundered.

The king of Bavaria bought the ornate sarcophagus with the mummy inside. He gave it to a museum in Munich, where for another century, Henut Taui lay undisturbed.

Then four years ago a German scientist, Dr Svetla Balabanova, made a discovery which was to baffle Egyptologists, and call into question whole areas of science and archeology to chemistry and botany.

She discovered that the body of Henut Taui contained large quantities of cocaine and nicotine. The surprise was not just that the ancient Egyptians had taken drugs, but that these drugs come from tobacco and coca, plants completly unknown outside the Americas, unheard of until Sir Walter Raleigh introduced smoking from the New World, or until cocaine was imported in the Victorian era.

It was seemingly impossible for the ancient Egyptians to get hold of these substances. And so began the mystery -

The mystery of the cocaine mummies.

It was in Munich, in 1992, that researchers began a huge project to investigate the contents of mummies. When as part of their studies, they wanted to test for drugs, it was no surprise that they turned to toxicologist Dr Svelta Balabanova for help.

As the inventor of groundbreaking new methods for the detection of drugs in hair and sweat, she was highly respected in her field. Dr Balabanova took samples from the mummies, which she pulverised and dissolved to make a solution. As she'd done countless times before, she ran the samples through a system which uses antibodies to detect the presence of drugs an other substances. Then as a backup the samples were put through the GCMS machine which can accurately identify substances by determining their molecular weight. As the graph emerged with peaks showing that drugs were present, and as the printer spewed out the analysis of just which drugs, something seemed to have gone very wrong.

DR SVETLA BALABANOVA - Institute of Forensic medicine, Ulm:
"The first positive results, of course, were a shock for me. I had not expected to find nicotine and cocaine but that's what happened. I was absolutely sure it must be a mistake."

NARRATOR:
Balabanova ran the tests again. She sent fresh samples to three other labs. But the results kept being confirmed. The drugs were there. So she went ahead and published a paper. The reaction was a sharp reminder that science is a conservative world.

DR SVETLA BALABANOVA - Institute of Forensic medicine, Ulm:
"I got a pile of letters that were almost threatening, insulting letters saying it was nonsense, that I was fantasising, that it was impossible, because it was proven that before Columbus these plants were not found anywhere in the world outside of the Americas."

I provided the link with the whole story.

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Misc/mummies.htm

I have seen this documentary on television and found it a very intriguing story.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hehehe, I now know that I shouldn't trust what they say on TV, they have docs about all sorts of stuff to boost ratings...is this the only mummy found with the drugs? If so, then it may have been tampered with (sorry, the sceptic in me is being annoying today!)

I can't really picture the Egyptians as a bunch of coke junkies, myself...I thought they preferred to get high off lotuses and maybe opium? Even cannabis? Just imagine if the ancient Egyptians had tabloid newspapers...'Pharaoh in Coke Sniffing Shocker!' and then we should look for evidence of 'quit smoking' campaigns written on ancient papyri...well, maybe not Laughing

In other words, I ain't convinced at the idea that this is actual cocaine/tobacco from America. That's way too 'fringe' for me to accept and reminds me of all the trash I see on the internet regarding this subject. There was a time in my teens when I did consider the possibility of trade between cultures but I also believed a lot of crap back then (like aliens and stuff)...I've grown up now.
The idea that the chemicals may have existed in native plants, or plants that may have been grown in Africa or Asia, seems more convincing, but more evidence is needed to prove that such plants existed.

Again, excuse the grouchy post. Wink
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Rozette
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parties at the Pyramids
"Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll in Ancient Egypt."

Professor Betsy Bryan is studying sex and the single pharaoh.

Her students analyze things like dirty hieroglyphics and love poems. Bryan says ancient Egyptians were a lot more fun


Professor Betsy Bryan is studying sex and the single pharaoh.

She teaches a course at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore called "Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll in Ancient Egypt."

Her students analyze things like dirty hieroglyphics and love poems. Bryan says ancient Egyptians were a lot more fun than scholars may have thought.

She's discovered a spot where some of the partying took place. It was called the porch of drunkenness near the pyramids.

Bryan has an ulterior motive in teaching about partying like an Egyptian. She says it may interest more freshmen in majoring in Near Eastern studies.
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isisinacris, you may find this interesting:
http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Entomology/courses/en570/papers_2000/wells.html

I'm still undecided on the subject. It seems, in one way, impossible. But according to this article, great care was taken, and nine mummies were examined with the same results.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm....I suppose the best evidence may come when archeologists discover the ruins of an ancient rehab clinic under the Egyptian sands... Wink

Did all Egyptians partake in drugs? I know most of them got drunk, and the idea that lotuses were used as narcotics is still debatable (I think), but it's kinda shocking to see Egypt as a civilisation of drug addicts...
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it's kinda shocking to see Egypt as a civilisation of drug addicts

That's a tad of an overstatement Smile Just because they have mummies that contain chemicals related to cocaine and nicotine doesn't mean they were a bunch of addicts.
I can imagine something more like some of the south american indians who are known to chew coca leaves. Those people are not junkies either. In that form it seems to work as a mild stimulant.
My guess is that the egyptians were just like all other people on our planet. Delve enough into any culture and you will find some use/abuse of stimulants.
I would be rather surprised if the egyptians did not indulge Very Happy

The body of literature seems to point to the fact that stimulants are found in egyptian mummies.
It will be interesting to see if they can figure out just what they were using and how (smoking, eating, etc).

Quote:
"Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll in Ancient Egypt."

LOL Their university must also be in the process of creating interesting courses for freshmen Laughing
Sounds like an interesting course.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, sorry about that little overstatement...the newspapers are full of pictures of Kate Moss and Pete Doherty and their cocaine addictions these days, plus I live in a flat full of annoying drunk weed smokers-but I really shouldn't let modern prejudice get in the way of ancient discoveries!

I wouldn't mind doing that course either-it sounds great, and a far cry from the common view of ancient Egypt as being a civilisation that thought about death all the time and didn't have fun.

I accept that they would have maybe indulged in a few narcotics for recreation-but did they use drugs for religious purposes? I've heard that mentioned as a theory that they might have used hallucinogens/narcotics in religion, much like some tribal shamans do, but I'm not sure. (but it puts a whole new spin on the term 'high priest' though, doesn't it? Wink )
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
but it puts a whole new spin on the term 'high priest' though, doesn't it?

LMAO Laughing Yes it does put a whole new spin on it Very Happy

I have never heard of egyptians using drugs in a religious setting. That would be interesting, but I've not read about anything that points in that direction. I'm with you on that Very Happy I'm not sure there's much evidence for it.

I also wonder if thier rituals wouldn't be a bit too complicated for that? Can't quite picture someone singing those complicated hymns or dressing the god while stoned/drunk Laughing Poor statue could end up with some interesting outfits...
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Nefertari86
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
don't believe the Egyptians ever travelled to America


Thats what they said about the vikings too. N yet somehow theyappeared in Newfoundland.

Quote:
There was a time in my teens when I did consider the possibility of trade between cultures but I also believed a lot of crap back then (like aliens and stuff)...I've grown up now.

How can you compare Aliens to ancient trade routes ?! One's historical fact for thousands of years the other's just fantasy.

Find me one cultutre in the ancient world who didn't at on etime or another engage in trade with other cultures and I'll show you a liar.

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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops, my bad. I didn't mean trade with other cultures because the Egyptians did a lot of that with loads of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilisations-what I meant was that I doubt that they did trade with cultures which are very far apart from each other, like the Egyptians and the Maya, for example. I should have made that clearer. Embarassed
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Nefertari86
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh ok I get it now.

What about the Vikings ? If they could cross the Atlantic why not the Egyptians ?
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mentioned on another thread that the Egyptians weren't really a seafaring people. I think the only time they travelled by boat on the sea was where they could see land easily, close to the coast, such as following the coastline of Africa. That wouldn't happen if they attempted to cross the Atlantic-a wide expanse of ocean, travelling from one continent to another, if they tried to attempt it, would have been very daunting for them.

I suppose another theory would be that people from the Americas sailed to Egypt and traded with them but again, there's no hard evidence for that either.
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