Researchers Map Great Wall of China’s Northern Line
Tuesday, an Israeli archeology specialist said that the northern line of China’s Great Wall was not designed to stop invading armies but rather to track civilian movements.
The observations of scientists who first traced the 740 kilometers (460-mile), Northern Line, for the first time, their findings challenged previous assumptions.
Gideon Shelach-Lavi, of Hebrew University, who oversaw the two-year report, said, “Before analysis, most people thought the wall was to stop Genghis Khan ‘s army.
But the Northern Line, lying mostly in Mongolia, winds through valleys, is relatively low in height and close to paths, pointing to non-military functions.
“Our conclusion is that it was more about monitoring or blocking the movement of people and livestock, maybe to tax them,” Shelach-Lavi said.
He suggested people may have been seeking warmer southern pastures during a medieval cold spell.
Construction of the Great Wall, which is split into sections that in total stretch for thousands of kilometers, first began in the third century BC and continued for centuries.
The Northern Line, also known as “Genghis Khan’s Wall” in reference to the legendary Mongolian conqueror, was built between the 11th and 13th centuries with pounded earth and dotted with 72 structures in small clusters.
Shelach-Lavi and his team of Israeli, Mongolian and American researchers used drones, high-resolution satellite images and traditional archaeological tools to map out the wall and find artefacts that helped pin down dates.
According to Shelach-Lavi, whose findings from the ongoing study were published in the journal Antiquity, the Northern Line has been largely overlooked by contemporary scientists.
Irish schoolboy discovers 4,000-year-old boat in Roscommon
LISACUL, IRELAND — A 12-year – old boy has found out the ruins of a wooden long-boat while wading in a lake in the Roscommon County of North Central Ireland reported by Irish Independent.
The boat may have been built early in the Neolithic period or as late as the Middle Ages.
An old boat that was more than 4,000 years old, uncovered by a bored schoolboy who abandoned his homework to paddle in the lake.
The 17ft longboat was lodged in the mud in the lake at the back of 12-year-old Cathal McDonagh’s home in Lisacul, Castlerea, Co Roscommon.
Archaeologists have told the family the ancient vessel could date back as far as 2000 BC.
The Irish Independent reports that McDonagh tripped over the vessel as he paddled in the shallow water of the lake and says that an expert team will travel from Dublin later this week to examine the find.
The lake is home to at least one crannóg – an artificial island used as dwellings and defense mechanisms in prehistoric Ireland. Crannóg’s are the oldest dwellings in prehistoric Ireland.
There are additionally at least seven ringforts surrounding the town of Lisacul.
Eileen McDonagh, Cathal’s mother, told the Irish Independent that he was supposed to be doing his homework when he made the discovery.
She said that her son became bored with his schoolwork and went for a walk down to the lake, where he paddled up to his ankles in a pair of wellington boots.
It was there that he tripped over the long piece of ancient wood and made the fascinating discovery.
Cathal’s father Peter and his two elder siblings Aonghus and Róisin were summoned to help him retrieve the vessel from the lake and the family then reported the find to the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Experts said that the vessel could date back to Ireland’s Neolithic era but that it also could be from the medieval period.
The experts advised the McDonagh family to place the vessel back in the water in order to preserve it.
The Cambridge University and Gent University team discovered a bath complex, market, temple, a public monument unlike anything seen before, and even the city’s sprawling network of water pipes. By looking at different depths, the archaeologists can now study how the town evolved over hundreds of years.
Today, the research published in Antiquity, harnessed recent advances in GPR technology which make it possible to explore larger areas in higher resolution than ever before.
It may have significant consequences for the study of ancient cities because many cannot be excavated either because they are too large, or because they are trapped under modern structures.
GPR works like regular radar, bouncing radio waves off objects and using the ‘echo’ to build up a picture at different depths. By towing their GPR instruments behind a quad bike, the archaeologists surveyed all 30.5 hectares within the city’s walls — Falerii Novi was just under half the size of Pompeii — taking a reading every 12.5cm.
Located 50 km north of Rome and first occupied in 241 BC, Falerii Novi survived into the medieval period (until around AD 700). The team’s GPR data can now start to reveal some of the physical changes experienced by the city at this time. They have already found evidence of stone robbing.
The study also challenges certain assumptions about Roman urban design, showing that Falerii Novi’s layout was less standardised than many other well-studied towns, like Pompeii. The temple, market building, and bath complex discovered by the team are also more architecturally elaborate than would usually be expected in a small city.
In a southern district, just within the city’s walls, GPR revealed a large rectangular building connected to a series of water pipes that lead to the aqueduct.
Remarkably, these pipes can be traced across much of Falerii Novi, running beneath its insulae (city blocks), and not just along its streets, as might normally be expected. The team believes that this structure was an open-air natatio or pool, forming part of a substantial public bathing complex.
Even more unexpectedly, near the city’s north gate, the team identified a pair of large structures facing each other within a porticus duplex (a covered passageway with a central row of columns). They know of no direct parallel but believe these were part of an impressive public monument and contributed to an intriguing sacred landscape on the city’s edge.
Corresponding author, Professor Martin Millett from the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Classics, said:
“The astonishing level of detail which we have achieved at Falerii Novi, and the surprising features that GPR has revealed, suggest that this type of survey could transform the way archaeologists investigate urban sites, as total entities.”
Millett and his colleagues have already used GPR to survey Interamna Lirenas in Italy, and on a lesser scale, Alborough in North Yorkshire, but they now hope to see it deployed on far bigger sites.
“It is exciting and now realistic to imagine GPR being used to survey a major city such as Miletus in Turkey, Nicopolis in Greece or Cyrene in Libya,” Millett said. “We still have so much to learn about Roman urban life and this technology should open up unprecedented opportunities for decades to come.”
The sheer wealth of data produced by such high-resolution mapping does, however, pose significant challenges. Traditional methods of manual data analysis are too time-consuming, requiring around 20 hours to fully document a single hectare. It will be some time before the researchers finish examining Falerii Novi but to speed the process up they are developing new automated techniques.
Falerii Novi is well documented in the historical record, is not covered by modern buildings and has been the subject of decades of analysis using other non-invasive techniques, such as magnetometry, but GPR has now revealed a far more complete picture.
GPR is so effective because it relies on the reflection of radio waves off items in the ground. Different materials reflect waves differently, which can be used to create maps of underground features.
Although this principle has been employed since the 1910s, over the past few years technological advances have made the equipment faster and higher resolution.
The project was funded by the AHRC. Lieven Verdonck, from Ghent University, was employed on a post-doctoral fellowship from the Fund for Scientific Research — Flanders (FWO). The team is grateful for support from Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per l’Area Metropolitana di Roma, la Provincia di Viterbo e l’Etruria Meridionale.
Drought Led To Discovery Of Ancient Roman Forts And Roads In Wales
The draught in Wales led in 2018 to the discovery of old Roman fortresses, roads, and military cantonments in a village in the United Kingdom. The aerial view of the area revealed 200 such places which suggested the ruins of ancient Roman times could be made possible.
“Britannia,” a researcher from the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales, quoted a science magazine and reported that the Roman legions had entered the rural areas of Wales.
Experts also revealed the ruins of the marching camps at Monmouthshire in the vicinity of Caerwent.
“The camps are truly interesting, used to stay overnight Romans had built on the maneuvers in hostile territory.” Researcher Toby Driver said the discoveries “turn on the heads everything we know about the Romans.”
The aerial investigator for the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales said the new research published in the journal Britannia showed the “Roman military machine coming to rural Wales”.
In Monmouthshire, the researchers have identified a new “marching camp” at a site near Caerwent.
“The marching camps are really, really interesting. They are the temporary overnight stops that the Romans build on manoeuvres in hostile territory.”
The site would have provided defensive positions, camping and kitchens for bread ovens.
“This is when Wales is still a very dangerous place to be for the troops, they are still under attack,” added Dr Driver. The entire area heading into south-east Wales through Usk to Caerleon would have been peppered with similar sites, believe the experts, as the Roman armies fought a 20-year battle to crush resistance amongst Celtic tribes, notably the Silures in southern Wales.
But these sites were “ploughed away pretty quickly” when the fighting was over.
“This is only the third marching camp in south-east Wales that we have discovered. We know there should be more of these around to show how the army was moving in Wales – it shows the big routes they are pushing through to control different parts of Wales,” added Dr Driver.
With conquest came reinforcements, and that meant forts. The aerial photographs confirmed the locations of at least three new fort sites, including the first found in the Vale of Gwent at Carrow Hill, west of the Roman town of Caerwent and the Roman legionary fortress at Caerleon.
The crop images show it had inner and outer defensive structure and a “killing zone” in between, perfectly ranged for a javelin throw.
The photographs found a long suspected fort site at Aberllynfi near Hay-on-Wye is indeed Roman, even though part of it has long since been built over by housing.
While further investigations at Pen y Gaer in Powys, near Tretower and Crickhowell, have revealed new detailed structures previously undiscovered – despite digs and surveys on the ground. The researchers, who included Roman experts Jeffrey Davies and Barry Burnham, have also been able to identify details of new villas – including at St Arvans, north of Chepstow in Monmouthshire.
The location had previously been considered a temple site, after part of a bronze statue of Mars was unearthed. But the heatwave images make it clear this was a Roman villa of some note, with its room structure clearly visible. Perhaps the most startling discoveries have been pieces of unknown Roman road.
One shows how the Roman armies pushed their way south from Carmarthen to Kidwelly, reinforcing speculation the town was home to a Roman fort – even if it may now be covered by Kidwelly Castle.
“It’s the scale of the control of Wales which is exciting to see,” said Dr Driver.
“These big Roman roads striking through the landscape – straight as arrows through the landscape.”
After the driest May on record, Dr Driver hopes he will be able to get back in the air as soon as coronavirus lockdown measures allow, to see if he and his teams can find more pieces of the Roman puzzle in Wales.
“There are still huge gaps. We’re still missing a Roman fort at Bangor, we’ve got the roads, we’ve got the milestones – but no Roman fort. We’re still missing a Roman fort near St Asaph, and near Lampeter, in west Wales, we should have one as well,” he said.
“Although we had loads come out in 2018, we’ve got this big gaps in Roman Wales that we know should have military installations – but you’ve got to get out in dry weather to find them.”
Mato Ilkić and Mate Parica from the Department of Archeology at the University of Zadar recently discovered a much older port in the western part of the Novigrad Sea, 22 kilometers northeast of Zadar.
Zadarski List writes that numerous ports from the Roman Empire have long been located and partly explored on the northern Dalmatian Coast.
They are distributed along the main maritime route of the time, which, among other things, includes navigation on the Vir Sea, Zadar, and Pašman Channels. But Mato Ilkić and Mate Parica from the Department of Archeology at the University of Zadar recently discovered a much older port.
It is located on a hitherto unknown route that was very navigable in the period before the Roman conquests.
The archeological remains of this port lay in the western part of the Novigrad Sea, opposite Posedarje, 22 kilometers northeast of Zadar. It was built by the Liburnians, and, for now, it is their only port for which the exact location is known.
“Examining aerial photographs, we noticed that along the west coast of the Novigrad Sea not far from Posedarje, and directly next to the huge prehistoric hillfort Budim, there are some dark rectilinear outlines.
We went there to dive and on the seabed, we immediately spotted a structure pointing to an ancient harbor whose archaeological remains are approximately 3 meters deep. For now, it is the oldest port in Liburnia, and perhaps in the entire Croatian part of the Adriatic.
This is evidenced by the radiocarbon analysis of wood from the port structure, a sample of which we sent to Miami for testing. We recently got a result from Florida that made us quite happy, because it indicates an older time than we had assumed. Namely, the so-called C 14 date indicates that the port was built between 371 and 199 BC. Thus, it belongs to the period of the late classical phase and early Hellenism,” Ilkić reveals.
The port is quite large and is not layered with later interventions. It is built partly of large stone blocks and wooden beams. This very demanding and complex construction undertaking at the time could only be carried out by the well-organized and economically very powerful Liburnian community, which was obviously oriented towards maritime and trade, directly or indirectly with very remote overseas regions.
This included North Africa, that is, Carthage, Numidia, and Hellenistic Egypt, from which a great deal of money reached Liburnia through Japodia.
For now, it cannot be argued how the Liburnians and Japodes were enriched, but it is possible to reconstruct the sea routes and land routes that ended up in their hands.
The topography of the finds of numerous and diverse numismatic materials originating from very distant monetary centers suggests that merchant ships sailed into Liburnian waters near Molat. From that island, a route led to the Vir Sea and the Velebit Channel and further through Novsko ždrilo to the Novigrad Sea, where the newly discovered and for now the only Liburnian port from the period before the Roman conquests is located.
The Liburnians developed a trade network that included the Trans-Velebit hinterland. Namely, after the money reached the southern Liburnian coast by sea, its further land flow can be followed even easier. They found their way in the direction of southern Velebit, where they descended to Lika along its edge and over mountain passes.
Here the traffic branched off into two main directions. The northern one led towards the Una river basin and deeper inland towards southwestern Pannonia.
The second traffic route is directed to the northwest and led to the pre-Alpine area. But this trade, in which the Japodes also profited, would not have been possible if the Liburnians had not turned to seafaring, as is now witnessed by their spacious port next to the huge fort of Budim near Posedarje.
It is an extremely important and complex archeological site, which is indicated by the finds of very early amphorae, Liburnian pottery, but also those painted that originated in Italy. In fact, the port near Buda sheds a whole new light on the maritime role of Liburnia.
Archaeologists from the Department of Archeology at the University of Zadar have just begun researching this unique northern Dalmatian underwater site from the pre-Roman period, thanks to donated money from Alan Mandić from Turanj and logistical support from the Municipality of Posedarje.
Their goal, for now, is to get to know the only Liburnian port, and perhaps the oldest on the Croatian coast, as well as possible, and document and protect it for future generations.
The money invested in the research would be returned many times over because by presenting fascinating and valuable archeological remains of the ancient port of Liburnia, the tourist offer could be enriched.
A prehistoric Atlantis in the north sea may have been abandoned after being hit by a 5mt tsunami 8200 years ago
A huge landfall occurred on the Norwegian coast, known as the Storegga Slide just over 8,000 years ago. The event created a catastrophic tsunami, with waves almost half as high as the Statue of Liberty, that battered Britain, and other landmasses. And now the most accurate computer model ever made of the tsunami suggests that it wiped out the remaining inhabitants of a set of the low-lying landmass known as Doggerland off the coast of the UK.
The new study of scientists from Imperial College London will be discussed at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna. They explain how devastating the tsunami would have been, using sophisticated computer modelling and paleobathymetry – a background study of underwater depths.
And they conclude it would have spelled disaster for the remaining inhabitants of Doggerland.
Dr. Jon Hill, one of the study’s authors, says to BBC, “the research we did is use advanced computer modelLing to look in the Storegga slide.
‘We’re the first to discover dissymmetry at the time, which no model has done before.
‘So we’re able to quantify what the tsunami looked like at Doggerland – no other study has predicted what the wave would have looked like.’
The huge wave that was created in the Storegga Slide occurred when a large chunk of coastal shelf 180 miles (290 km) long fell into the sea. The slide was a single event 8,200 years ago, creating a wave that travelled across the Norwegian Sea in a few hours.
Fifteen hours later, the wave would have reached Belgium and Holland. Dr Hill said it would have been equivalent to the 2011 Japanese tsunami in its scale.
Waves at Doggerland would have been five metres high, as opposed to 10 metres in the Japanese tsunami, as the land was so low-lying just a few metres above sea level.
‘It would have been completely inundated by a 5-metre wave,’ Dr Hill explains.
‘If you put a 5-metre wave towards Doggerland it would have been devastated.’ Archaeological evidence for this area is relatively sparse at the moment. So far, we are relying mostly on finds made by fishermen.
But the evidence heavily suggests it was inhabited and, according to Dr Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham who authored the book Europe’s Lost World: The Rediscovery of Doggerland, they would have ‘suffered dramatically.’
‘If we look at what the study tells us they’re talking about waves that are, in Scotland, as much as 40 metres high,’ he says.
‘The inhabitants of any low-lying areas like Doggerland would have suffered dramatically if hit by something of that size.’ Dr. Gaffney continues, however, that it is hard to know exactly the extent of habitation on Doggerland because it is very inaccessible.
Described as ‘Britain’s Atlantis’ it is now located under busy sea lanes in murky water. Thus, according to Dr. Gaffney, ‘we know little about the people who inhabited these areas.’ Dr. Hill says that modelling tsunamis of this type are important for understanding our history.
But they can also provide us with data on what we can expect from similar events in the future. Although he stresses no such event is likely to occur any time soon, the UK is susceptible to such dangers.
‘Part of the research is to find out what would happen as the oceans warm,’ he says.
‘Rising sea levels are an indicator but there’s no correlation between rising sea levels and tsunamis.’ The chances of another event on the scale of the Storegga Slide happening soon is, he says, ‘not likely to happen at all.’ Dr Gaffney adds, though, that these events are known to have occurred throughout history.
‘We sometimes think we’re a safe place to live in the UK,’ he says.
‘But sometimes there are risks even in Britain and that’s worth noting.’
Rock art of a Giraffe dabous niger dated at Approximately 9,000 years ago
Giraffe with their long-necks and lanky gait have captivated humans for thousands of years. Rock carvings in the Sahara Desert in northern Niger, estimated to be 9,000 years old, represent the earliest recorded human association with a giraffe.
The Dabous giraffes, located north of Agadez in Niger, are some of the most striking examples of Saharan rock art known. It is not known who carved the figures, but they may have been created by the Tuareg people.
Rock engravings spanning several thousands of years are common in the Dabous area; over 300 are known, varying in size from quite small to the life-sized depictions shown here.
Probably dating to c.5000 – 3000 BC, each giraffe is engraved into a gently sloping rock face, the choice of location possibly a deliberate attempt to capture the slanting rays of the sun so that the shallow engravings were visible at certain times of the day; human figures representing local hunter-gatherers are drawn to scale below the giraffes. The naturalism, perspective, and attention to detail are striking.
Africa’s climate was much wetter during the period in which the engravings were made than it is at present, and the Saharan region was verdant grassland that supported rich wildlife.
Other examples of broadly contemporary rock art in the region depict elephants, gazelles, zebu cattle, crocodiles, and other large animals of the grasslands, although giraffes appear to have been especially important to regional hunter-gatherer groups.
Under the auspices of UNESCO, the Bradshaw Foundation was tasked with coordinating the Dabous preservation project, in association with the Trust for African Rock Art. The preservation project was to involve taking a mould of the carvings from which to create a limited edition of aluminium casts, one of which would be gifted to the town of Agadez near the archaeological site, another of which would be located at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C.
A further element of the preservation project was to sink a water well in the area in order to support a small Tuareg community who would be responsible for guiding tourists at the Dabous site. In the heart of the Sahara lies the Tenere Desert. ‘Tenere’, literally translated as ‘where there is nothing’, is a barren desert landscape stretching for thousands of miles, but this literal translation belies its ancient significance – for over two millennia, the Tuareg operated the trans-Saharan caravan trade route connecting the great cities on the southern edge of the Sahara via five desert trade routes to the northern coast of Africa.
Dabous Giraffe Rock Art Petroglyph one of the finest examples of ancient rock art in the world – two life-size giraffe carved in stone and before the Tuareg? Life in the region now known as the Sahara has evolved for millennia, in varying forms.
One particular piece of evidence of this age-old occupation can be found at the pinnacle of a lonely rocky outcrop. Here, where the desert meets the slopes of the Air Mountains, lies Dabous, home to one of the finest examples of ancient rock art in the world – two life-size giraffe carved in stone.
They were first recorded as recently as 1987 by Christian Dupuy. A subsequent field trip organised by David Coulson of the Trust for African Rock Art brought the attention of archaeologist Dr Jean Clottes, who was startled by their significance, due to the size, beauty and technique.
The two giraffe, one large male in front of a smaller female, were engraved side by side on the sandstone’s weathered surface. The larger of the two is over 18 feet tall, combining several techniques including scraping, smoothing, and deep engraving of the outlines. However, signs of deterioration were clearly evident.
Despite their remoteness, the site was beginning to receive more and more attention, as these exceptional carvings were beginning to suffer the consequences of both voluntary and involuntary human degradation. The petroglyphs were being damaged by trampling, but perhaps worse than this, they were being degraded by Grafitti, and fragments were being stolen.
The obvious answer to was to preserve the giraffe carvings because of their artistic significance, but also their placement within a palaeo-African contexts Chairman of the Bradshaw Foundation, Damon de Laszlo, saw that ‘the obvious answer to this was to attempt to preserve them, not only because of their artistic significance, but also their placement within a palaeo-African context ie. a greener Sahara, and how this ties in with our ‘Journey of Mankind’ Genetic Map.’
This preservation would take the form of making a mould of the carvings and then cast them in a resistant material. The point of this was two-fold; now was the time to take the mould because the carvings were still – just – in a perfect condition, and by publicising the importance of the carvings, their value would be realized and their protection prioritized.
By chance, a year earlier saw the publication of ‘Zarafa’ by Michael Allin, depicting the fascinating tale of a giraffe from Sudan being led across France in 1826 – the Dabous giraffe would travel to France nearly two hundred years later but in a slightly different fashion.
One of the major aims of the Bradshaw Foundation is to preserve ancient rock art, but with a project of this nature and scale, we obviously needed permission from both UNESCO and the government of Niger.
Moreover, it was important to ensure that the project would be carried out at the grass-roots level, with full involvement of the Tuareg custodians. Finally, consideration of the future preservation had to be catered for, and for this reason, a well was sunk near the site to provide water for a small group to live in the area, a member of which would act as a permanent guide – to show where to mount the outcrop, where to best view the petroglyphs without walking on them, and to ensure no damage or theft.
2700-year-old weed found in an Asian grave is still totally smokeable.
Cannabis is as ancient as the dinosaurs. It’s been used by different ethnicities around the world for thousands of years, playing different roles in different cultures. In Czechoslovakia, a hemp rope dating back to 26,900 BC was discovered a decade ago and was associated with the economic activities of the people at that place in that time. Naturally, the cultivation process has changed massively in the years that have passed. One of the greatest problems facing modern cannabis cultivation is working out how the waste that is produced can be managed sustainably. To learn more about how this issue could be overcome it might be worth contacting a service provider like GAIACA.
European farmers grew cannabis Sativa for rope, canvas, and clothing. On the other hand, farmers in central Asia and Siberia grew cannabis ruderalis as cattle fodder.
Ancient India and China used cannabis indica for medical purposes, and whilst they didn’t have the same systems in place as we do now for tracking the stuff (such as how people use Metrc for compliance in oregon, to name one example) it was still quite abundant. But did ancient cultures use it recreationally? Researchers couldn’t be sure. However, a recent discovery in northern Asia has proven that indeed the oldies were getting stoned on cannabis, too. It could be a possibility. We already know that many societies use cannabis for purposes other than to smoke. So, it is a possibility that it was used recreationally. Some research teams were able to find sativa cannabis seeds, ropes, canvas, and other items to prove the use of cannabis as practical materials, so it’s safe to say that the answer lies within this discovery.
The 2,700 Year Old Weed Stash Found in Yanghai Tombs
Researchers recently discovered a weed stash in the Yanghai tombs in northern China. A 2,700-year-old grave of a light-haired Caucasian male, probably in his forties, contained the preserved THC-rich ground bud. Researchers believe that the man must have been a Shaman from the ancient Gushi culture of the Turpan Basin.
Together with the cannabis were other paraphernalia that suggests his shamanic role. Trade tools and religious artifacts were often buried with the dead in ancient cultures. These cultures believed that the dead would carry their treasures with them into the afterlife.
The dry climatic conditions and alkaline soil play a key role in preserving these. For instance, the weed stash still appeared green, though it had lost the skunk-like cannabis odor and taste.
Studying the Weed Stash
An international team of researchers has studied the 789g of cannabis cache and found that it contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component found in cannabis that differentiates it from hemp. So this was likely recreational cannabis. Researchers have mainly excavated hemp-derived, CBD-dominant cannabis that could be used medicinally.
Were these ancients getting high on weed? According to the lead researcher Ethan Russo, this ancient bud is very similar to what is grown today around the world. It’s similar to what many people grow for their own personal use, from seeds in their homes. You can click here to research into seeds and the deals you can get on them. In the words of Russo: “We know from both the chemical analysis and genetics that it could produce THC (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, the main psychoactive chemical in the plant).”
The international team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Botany studied the weed stash to determine its contents. They first thought that the ground up substance was coriander. Genetic testing revealed otherwise.
Cannabis contains over 100 identified cannabinoids, though tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most abundant.
The two compounds have the exact same number of molecules: 21 carbon atoms, 2 oxygen atoms, and 30 hydrogen atoms. But the difference between the two comes from the difference in molecule arrangement.
Moreover, both compounds are similar to endocannabinoids produced in mammalian bodies. Consequently, cannabis’s cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system in a similar fashion. But the unique arrangement of atoms in THC allows it to bind the CB1 receptor and cause the mind-altering effects commonly associated with cannabis.
CBD on the other hand does not bind to this receptor and cannot cause the typical cannabis high. In fact, some studies have shown that CBD can inhibit the mind-altering effect caused by THC.
Putting the Tomb (and its Weed Stash) on Exhibit
In this particular tomb, the cannabis obtained was purely female. This sheds light on the reason for cultivating cannabis in the first place; these people wanted a harvest that was high in THC content.
Given the amount of cannabis found in this one grave, it appears that psychoactive cannabis must have played a key role in the life and culture of the Shaman community.
The Turpan Museum in China holds the weed stash. Researchers hope for future excavations to dig up the remains.