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Egyptian mummies found with cocaine

  1. Apr 10, 2009 #1
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/r45155796wlq5176/




    I thought cocaine was indigenous to South America? How did it make its way to Africa?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2009 #2
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  4. Apr 10, 2009 #3
    Those darn aliens...who knew THEY were the original drug smugglers?

    It is perplexing.
     
  5. Apr 10, 2009 #4
    lol, they build damn pyramids. Why couldn't they sail to america?
     
  6. Apr 10, 2009 #5
    gravenworld, if you go to your link you'll see where you can view the first page of the article. There is a sentences in the introduction which I can construe by confirmation bias as a hint that they are considering this as evidence of old world/new world contact far before current estimates, though they don't explicitly say so:

    "Hence we have provided circumstantial evidence that some drugs had already been consumed in historic populations."

    Makes the coincidence of Egyptian and South American Pyramid architecture seem not so coincidental.

    Still, maybe there is a native Egyptian source for the same drugs?
     
  7. Apr 10, 2009 #6

    Evo

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    No opiates were found? Seems odd since Egyptians were known to use opium.
     
  8. Apr 10, 2009 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think most dark, leafy greens have nicotine in them.

    How can you test positive for THC but not for opiates? I thought pot was an opiate?
     
  9. Apr 10, 2009 #8
    THC is not an opiate.
     
  10. Apr 10, 2009 #9
  11. Apr 10, 2009 #10
    Facial features found on statues of pre-Columbian Olmec civilization in South America closely resemble that of native Africans, where as facial features of Mayan or Aztec is totally different. So it's entirely possible, they could have sailed from Africa to South America thousand years before the vikings or Columbus.
     
  12. Apr 10, 2009 #11
    stone%20head%20in%20Xalapa%20540x405.jpg

    In addition to Kon Tiki, you may know Thor Heyerdahl did and experimental voyage from Egypt to South America in a reed boat. As I recall, it didn't quite make it, but came close enough that it was completely feasible that, with some improved engineering such a voyage was realistic.
     
  13. Apr 10, 2009 #12
    I think I saw that on the History channel, but didn't remember if he made it.

    If the ancient explorers had a capability to sail back and forth between the continents to trade, they must have been a sufficient sea faring civilization back in Africa. The only empires at the time were the Egyptians and Nubians to the south of Egypt. But I guess archaeologists haven't found more evidence to prove where they originated.
     
  14. Apr 10, 2009 #13
    in addition, i've seen plenty of southeast asians with features i'd characterize as "african". and some of the south pacific islanders were expert sailors.

    i'm pretty sure that tobacco in mummies is really old news. first i've heard of cocaine. but the existence of pyramids in south america makes it easy to believe there was cultural contact and trade during the time of the pharaohs. also, the americas are sometimes speculated as the source of the Atlantis legend, and there is some evidence that fairly sophisticated civilizations existed long before european settlers arrived.
     
  15. Apr 10, 2009 #14

    D H

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    Funny. Elsewhere on PF there is a new thread on necromancing old threads. This is another new thread that is necromancing an old (widely regarded as) crackpot ideas.

     
  16. Apr 10, 2009 #15
    This statue could be of a pacific islander, yes.

    Since Atlantis sunk I find any above sea level land not to be credible as the source of the legend.

    Do you mean tobacco or nicotine in mummies is old news?
     
  17. Apr 10, 2009 #16
    Necromancing and mummies. Where's the surprise?
     
  18. Apr 10, 2009 #17
    you are right, it could be completely false. or sinking could be a metaphor. or atlantis could be something else altogether.

    i just have an old faded memory. i remember it being presented as tobacco, but that could simply be someone else's overeagerness to see nicotine as tobacco.
     
  19. Apr 10, 2009 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/n/nicotine.htm

    I was looking around and found other people asking if it was true that dark leafy greens contain nicotine. What motivated my comment was a news report that specifically addressed this issue, so, dunno; doesn't seem to be true.
     
  20. Apr 10, 2009 #19
    Regardless, your quote indicates that both the cocaine and nicotine could have come from the same plant source.
     
  21. Apr 10, 2009 #20
    And I thought that the world's leaders didn't start doing coke until the latter 20th century, how naive of me!
     
  22. Apr 11, 2009 #21
    True... But think about it. A few mummies out of probably a few million Egyptians, not all of them are going to have opiates. America is known for cocaine, but not everyone in America is going to have traces of cocaine.

    Opium, I'm assuming, because of it's nature and the effect the drug has was probably used for more ceremonial events or special occassions as opposed to everyday use.
     
  23. Apr 11, 2009 #22

    Evo

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    Yes, but it also has medicinal use. As one criticism of the paper pointed out, if the use of coca was so common as to be found in all 9 of a random sampling of 9 mummies from ~ 1,000 BC to 300 BC, it is more likely that the samples were contaminated, or the mummies aren't authentic, wouldn't be the first time museums were victims of hoaxes. Why would Egyptians show poppy seeds and lotus plants and no pictures of coca plants or leaves?
     
  24. Apr 11, 2009 #23
    I think that all coco leaves would have to have been carried by boat back to Egypt in some sort of dried or preserved state. They wouldn't grow in Egypt: wrong climate. No fresh leaves or whole growing plants to figure in art. They would be only for the rich and powerful, and might only be prescribed during serious illness. By this logic we'd see them in every mummy that died from illness, but not in those whose death was sudden.
     
  25. Apr 11, 2009 #24

    Evo

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    My thoughts also, but there would be some record of it. We know of the spices, medicinal herbs, even the makeup they wore. It was customary to have anything the person might need in the after life buried with them, surely something that was so common as to be found in 100% of the mummies tested over such a supposed period of time would have been found. Also, if there was continuous trade between South America and Africa, one would think that there would have been a record of it.
     
  26. Apr 11, 2009 #25
    Yes, if the Egytians made it to the Americas it seems impossible they wouldn't have made a huge deal of recording the fact all over the place.

    Only solution left, is that it was some other less literate seafaring culture who made the voyages then traded tho coco to the Egyptians for big bucks. But, of course, I'm just speculating.

    Could be what this means is that this manner of testing for chemical compounds is highly flawed.
     
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