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The plants were found lying like a burial shroud

A team of archaeologists, led by Hongen Jiang with the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, discovered 13 marijuana plants that were still largely intact, if yellowed and desiccated after millennia underground. In a first for funerary marijuana, the plants were found lying like a burial shroud atop the body of a man who had died in his mid-30s. Their roots lay below the man’s hips and the tips — which had been trimmed to remove the flowers — extended up around his face, according to the publication of the find in the journal Economic Botany.

Ancient people in Siberia and northwestern China have been putting pot in tombs since at least the first millennia BCE. An open question has been whether these plants were used for fruit, for their hemp fibers to make rope and clothing, or for what we use them for today: to get high, or to cut pain. So far, archaeologists have found 6,000 to 7,000-year-old hemp fabrics in Northern China, but haven’t unearthed any evidence of hemp clothing near the Turpan Basin before 2,000 years ago. While it’s possible that the clothes may simply have rotted over time, it’s also possible that the main purpose of marijuana wasn’t fiber.

A 2,500-year-old stash of whole marijuana plants have been unearthed from an ancient tomb in northwest China. This discovery adds to a growing body of evidence that ancient people used marijuana for its psychoactive properties, and incorporated it into their rituals.

This stash was found in one of 240 tombs that archaeologists had excavated in a desert region of the Turpan Basin in northwest China. The area had probably once been a stop along the Silk Road, and pastoral people called the Subeixi had lived and traded here, Kristin Romey for National Geographic reports. Three other tombs in this cemetery also contained marijuana fruits, leaves, stem fragments, and seeds. Scientists have wondered whether the marijuana plants came in via trade, or whether they had been farmed or grew wild in the region. Since the burial shroud marijuana plants were whole, uprooted plants, that suggests local growth.

Russo served as a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Botany while conducting the study. He and his international team analyzed the cannabis, which was excavated at the Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, China. It was found lightly pounded in a wooden bowl in a leather basket near the head of a blue-eyed Caucasian man who died when he was about 45.

Lead author Ethan Russo told Discovery News that the marijuana “is quite similar” to what’s grown today.

“This individual was buried with an unusual number of high value, rare items,” Russo said, mentioning that the objects included a make-up bag, bridles, pots, archery equipment and a kongou harp. The researchers believe the individual was a shaman from the Gushi people, who spoke a now-extinct language called Tocharian that was similar to Celtic.

“Perhaps it was ingested orally,” Russo said. “It might also have been fumigated, as the Scythian tribes to the north did subsequently.”

Nearly two pounds of still-green plant material found in a 2,700-year-old grave in the Gobi Desert has just been identified as the world’s oldest marijuana stash, according to a paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Botany.

The Tombs is a visually stunning cannabis specimen that grows into a towering bush when cultivated outdoors in garden beds and guerrilla grow operations. The flowers and sugar leaves of this lady start to exhibit gorgeous shades of deep purple during the latter stages of the blooming phase. This unique trait makes these flowers worth saving to impress friends during social smoking sessions.

The Tombs is a result of a breeding project that involved parent strains Iron Cindy and Blue Rhino 1947. She produces a incredibly potent high that is best reserved for the evening hours and has received the title of “day wrecker” for this very reason.

The Tombs has a flowering time of between 66–70 days, resulting in average yields.