Ancient Corpse Was Buried in a Shroud of Marijuana Plants

By Carl Engelking | October 6, 2016 3:07 pm

(Credit: Shutterstock)

A totally righteous, ancient dude was buried in a shroud of marijuana some 2,400 to 2,800 years ago in northern China.

In a study recently published in the journal Economic Botany, researchers describe an “extraordinary cache” of 13 well-preserved cannabis plant remains arranged diagonally across the dead man’s chest, forming a shroud of sorts. Researchers believe the man died at the age of 35, was Caucasian and may have been a shaman. They believe their finding provides new insights into the ritualistic use of cannabis in prehistoric, Central Eurasian culture.

“This is the first time ever that archaeologists have recovered complete cannabis plants, as well as the first incidence of their use as a ‘shroud’ or covering in a human burial,” the study’s lead author Hongen Jiang told National Geographic.


The tomb was found in the Jiayi cemetery in Turpan, a city located along a fertile desert and at one time a key stop along the Silk Road. The marijuana-shrouded man’s tomb was one of 240 others in the cemetery thought to belong to the nomadic Subeixi culture. The Subeixi were among the first residents of the Turpan basin, an unforgiving, arid landscape where temperatures can seesaw between -16 degrees Fahrenheit and 89 degrees F.

According to National Geographic, cannabis plant parts have been unearthed in other Turpan burial sites. Notably, nearly two pounds of cannabis seeds and powdered leaves were found in a nearby cemetery in Yanghai, the magazine reports.

Marijuana, is of course, known for its high-inducing effects, but its fibers are also useful for clothing and the plant’s seeds can supplement nutrition. However, there were no hemp-hewn products found in Turpan burial sites, so researchers suspect marijuana grown in these parts may have been smoked or burned for ritualistic and therapeutic purposes.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: archaeology
  • Uncle Al

    smoked or burned for ritualistic and therapeutic purposes” Great – 1.4 billion people with the munchies eating the Koreas. WE CANNOT ALLOW A MUNCHIES GAP!

    • Gerald Wonnacott


  • Chris H

    Caucasian eh? Maybe one of Bill and Teds excellent adventures was not so excellent.

    • TLongmire

      Definetly more noble than those two chumps.

  • TwoSheds

    Herodotus wrote that they threw the seeds onto hot rocks in a steam bath in central Asia. That guy really got around…

  • Drew Ciccotelli

    Ancient people high elders smoked weed and now we found justification to lock up children for doing the same.

    • indypIorabIe

      The stuff killed the dude.

      • StanChaz

        He died with it, not because of it
        It wasn’t like he was caught & buried in a weed landslide, honey.

        • indypIorabIe

          Evidently, my humor is missed on you…..but your comment is kinda funny.

      • Drew Ciccotelli

        Prove it.

        • indypIorabIe

          He doesn’t have any skin on his bones and he’s not breathing.

      • Drew Ciccotelli

        Most likely, it came alive and hacked him to death while he slept.

  • Erik Bosma

    This was probably the spiritual drink Soma which the Aryans (Indo-Europeans) wrote about in the Rig Veda. We really have never found out what Soma was (some think it may have been Ephedra), but now this seems to point to a drink made from pot, perhaps spiked with Ephedra.

    • Andres Pedraza

      Wasson’s work pretty much convinced me that Soma was fly agaric.

      • Erik Bosma

        I don’t agree. Unless it was a potion made up of various ingredients perhaps including fly agaric and perhaps, ephedra. They did use it for warring and mushrooms are usually used in meditative rituals.

        • Andres Pedraza

          That’s fine. You don’t need to agree. Have you read Wasson’s main work in this regard, though, Soma? Otherwise, you’re just disagreeing on principle without really knowing what you’re disagreeing with.

          • Erik Bosma

            Having read Wasson doesn’t make me believe in his theories alone. There is also evidence of cannabis, ephedra and opiate use in some of the same regions (campsites) that Wasson found and researched ‘shrooms. However, we’ll only find out if we can one day thaw out an ancient Aryan warrior or priest and do some analysis. Wasson was obsessed with the Amanita – plain and simple. And he did some great research. But I also believe the recipe for the Soma potion also changed depending on their location and local plant life – although most of these plants were available throughout most of Siberia and the Caucusus. You ever hear that the long ago ancestors of these Aryans were quite possibly our old friends the “Cro-Magnons” who followed the herds as they left a gradually arid Europe to the rich plains of the Steppes and beyond. I’ve even heard that a group of these may have become trapped by glaciers for thousands of years and evolved typical ‘Mongolid’ features as well as learning how to herd and keep livestock as well as forcing themselves to drink milk . Some of their descendants kept the lactase gene turned on and now most Europeans are able to drink milk. Very tough people during a very harsh several thousands of years of survival and evolution.

          • Diana Rosalind Trimble

            Hi to you and @andres_pedraza:disqus – I’ve also wondered about the actual identification of SOMA and although I love Gordon Wasson’s work, I was never totally convinced by his theory of the fly agaric. However, I don’t think it could be cannabis either as the effects of the intoxicant as described in the Vedas do not sound like being stoned. The descriptions are of a way more charged-up, excited, experience with wild eyes and movements. Ephedra and speedy substances are more likely.

  • Alan

    They buried the guy with his most favorite thing, a good supply to use in the afterlife.


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