Scythians’ Solid Gold Substance Abuse
The drug habits of the Scythians have been referenced as early as 430 BC by the Greek Historian Herodotus – but the splendour of their hallucinogenic rituals has never been so evident.
A cache of amazing gold treasures has been unearthed in the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia.
The cache was made up of two bucket-shaped gold vessels – understood to be bongs – three cups, a heavy gold finger ring, two neck rings and a gold bracelet that dates back 2,400 years to the era of the Scythians.
Archaeologist Andrei Belinski asked criminologists in nearby Stavropol to analyse a black residue coating the inside of the vessels, revealing them to be: “Positive for opium and cannabis.”
Further testing suggested that the vessels were used to brew and drink a strong opium drink, while burning cannabis nearby: “That both drugs were being used simultaneously is beyond doubt,” Gass said.
According to the BBC, hemp was introduced to northern Europe by the Scythians in 500BC.
Remains of a double burial traced to this time yielded a decorated leather pouch containing wild cannabis seeds. Between 700-300BC Scythians left cannabis seeds as offerings in royal tombs. By 1500 cannabis was being cultivated and used to weave fine hemp cloth.
Anton Gass, an archaeologist at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, told National Geographic that the find was a “once in a century discovery”, adding the artefacts were “among the finest objects we know from the region”.