It’s known that cannabis is popular among the twenty-something crowd today, but according to a new report, smoking pot was the in-thing 2,500-years-ago. Russian anthropologists who found a Siberian ancient mummy princess in 1993 with tattoos, about 25-years-old at the time of her death, say she had breast cancer. Additionally, Russian scientists said marijuana was found in the Siberian “ice maiden’s” tomb and was most likely used medicinally to manage pain.
Over two decades ago, Russian scientist Natalia Polosmak discovered the mummified remains of a young woman in the Altai Mountains on the Ukok Plateau. Amazingly, the ancient mummy, entombed in permafrost some 2,500-years-ago, was preserved very well. Based on artifacts found at her burial site — jewelry, two horses, and intricate fashion attire — the Siberian mummy was held in high regard.
“Princess Ukok,” the Siberian “ice maiden,” also called the “Altai Princess” after the mountainous region where she was interred, donned decorative tattoos that may have symbolized her status in Pazyryks culture. She’s been the subject of study by experts from many disciplines. And thanks to today’s advances in body imaging, more is known about the tattooed mummy’s fate, according to the Siberian Times.
Andrey Letyagin, a professor of physiology from the Russian Academy of Medical Science, evaluated the corpse of the ancient mummy and shared findings with media sources. Two striking discoveries emerged from a deeper probe of the 2,500-year-old mummy princess: She had breast cancer at the time of her death, a bone infection, and likely used medical marijuana to treat her pain.
“During the imaging of mammary glands, we paid attention to their asymmetric structure and the varying asymmetry of the MR signal. We are dealing with a primary tumor in the right breast and right axial lymph nodes with metastases. I am quite sure of the diagnosis. She was extremely emaciated. Only cancer could have such an impact.”
After studying the mummy’s remains in detail and delving into the history of the Pazyryks’ culture, Professor Polosmak weighed in on the events that led to Princess Ukok’s death. It’s important to point out that the ice maiden was likely considered a shaman. The marijuana she used to lessen her debilitating pain from breast cancer probably left her in an altered state of mind, and locals likely thought she possessed spiritual powers.
“When she arrived in winter camp on Ukok in October, she had the fourth stage of breast cancer. She had severe pain and the strongest intoxication, which caused the loss of physical strength.
“In such a condition, she could fall from her horse and suffer serious injuries. She obviously fell on her right side, hit the right temple, right shoulder and right hip. Her right hand was not hurt, because it was pressed to the body, probably by this time the hand was already inactive. Though she was alive after her fall, because edemas are seen, which developed due to injuries.
“Anthropologists believe that only her migration to the winter camp could make this seriously sick and feeble woman mount a horse. More interesting is that her kinsmen did not leave her to die, nor kill her, but took her to the winter camp.”
The cannabis found in the tomb of the ancient mummy was part of the culture. Pazyryks partook in hemp, opium, and hashish, which were likely used in rituals and as forms of analgesics.
Polosmak described how the ancient Siberian mummy’s burial was done with the care given to royals, which likely spoke to her status in the culture. As a result, it comes as no surprise that mountain elders want the ancient mummy’s remains removed from a museum in the city of Gorno-Altaisk and reburied on a high Ukok plateau.
In August, leaders voted to do just that. They fear her removal is behind a spike in earthquakes and floods in the area. Simply put, they think it’s time for the 2,500-year-old ancient mummy princess from Siberia to finally rest in peace.