This mummy, found with cannabis, was also intricately tattooed and buried with several significant items. The mummified princess is known as the “Siberian Ice Maiden” and is well-recognized at one of Russia’s most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century. The mummy is believed to be 20-30 years of age.
Learn more about the tattooed cannabis mummy below.
Mummy Found With Cannabis in Russia
The mummy was found in 1993 in the Altai Republic region of Russia. The Altai Region is located in southern-central Russia, close to the borders of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China.
Although the mummy was found with a very small amount of cannabis (compared to other ancient cannabis stashes), the significance of this substance being discovered alongside such an important member of society cannot be understated.
The small container of cannabis, found near the body, is a sign that this substance was also incredibly important to the individual who was mummified.
The Significance of the Mummy’s Tattoos
Dr. Natalia Polosmak, the scientist who discovered the mummy, claims that “tattoos were used as a means of personal identification”, within the culture. Furthermore, tattoos “would be helpful in another life, making it easier for the people of the same family (and culture) to find each other after death”.
The mummy was found with several intricate tattoos, perhaps the most interesting is a deer head on her shoulder, wrist, and thumb.
Mummy Found With Cannabis: What Else Was The Mummified Princess Found With?
The mummy found with cannabis was also found with several other items, all of which were deemed important enough to be buried with. These items include:
- 6 Horses With Ornate Saddles
- Chinese Silk
- A 3 Foot Tall Headress
- Fine Felt Boots
All of these items have significant cultural meaning. For example, killing and burying 6 horses with the Siberian Ice Maiden was a tremendous use of resources, certainly only reserved for the most important of society. The ornate saddles these horses were wearing are also another indicator of how significant this individual was.
Another notable fact from the time is that men were usually buried with women. The Siberian Ice Maiden’s burial may be a sign that she was celibate, as was the case with many Shamans of the time.
How Did the Siberian Ice Maiden Die?
The mummy had all of her internal organs removed before mummification, but, an MRI revealed late-stage breast cancer within her body. There were no signs of physical violence found on the mummy, so, violent death has been ruled out somewhat.
Archaeologists and medical scientists presumed that the late-stage breast cancer is why she died and perhaps why she was found with cannabis. Others have theorized that a combination of injuries from a fall, as well as cancer, contributed to her untimely demise.
Cannabis has had a long history as a pain medicine, cultural instrument, and recreational substance. The cannabis found with this mummy may have been an important medicinal item for the individual, or, it could have been used an incense during cultural rituals. Whatever the case, cannabis was seen as important enough to have buried with this individual which certainly gives it signficance.
Many scholars have presumed that the Siberian Ice Maiden was using cannabis in order to relieve the pain from such a late-stage of cancer. Without treatment, the pain from breast cancer may have been unbearable. This could be why many have taken this line of thought with regards to the reason behind the cannabis.
Is This The World’s Oldest Cannabis Stash Ever Discovered?
No – this cannabis is 200 years younger than the oldest discovered cannabis in the world.
The oldest cannabis stash ever discovered was found in Northwestern China and is believed to be over 2,700 years of age. The history of cannabis is fascinating and stretches back thousands of years.
For more on the world’s oldest cannabis stash ever discovered, click here.
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- BBC/NOVA. (1997). “Ice Mummies: Siberian Ice Maiden“. BBC Documentary Films
- Liesowska, A. (2014). “Iconic 2,500 Year Old Siberian Princess Died From Breast Cancer, Reveals MRI Scan“.
- Polosmak, N. (1994). “A Mummy Unearthed from the Pastures of Heaven”. National Geographic
- Siberian Times. (2012). “Siberian Princess Reveals her 2,500 Year Old Tattoos“.