Burial containing a shroud made of cannabis plants discovered

Chinese archaeologists discovered a tomb with a male individual covered with a burial shroud made of cannabis plants. The find was made in the Turpan Basin, north-western China and dates back 2400-2800 years.

Burial with the cannabis shroud (by National Geographic)
Burial with the cannabis shroud (by National Geographic)

The burial contains a skeleton of a man approximately 35 years old at the time of death with Caucasian features. The man had been laid out on a wooden bed with a reed pillow beneath his head. Diagonally across the man’s chest thirteen cannabis plants were placed, with the roots oriented beneath the pelvis and the tops extending from just under his chin, up and alongside the left side of the man’s face.

The cannabis shroud (by National Geographic)
The cannabis shroud (by National Geographic)

Radiocarbon dating of the tomb’s contents indicates that the burial occurred approximately 2400 to 2800 years ago. This burial is one of 240 graves excavated at the Jiayi cemetery in Turpan, associated with the Subeixi culture of the Gushi Kingdom). The people of this culture are said to have occupied the surrounding area in the first millennium BC. Other Turpan burials also are known to have contained plant parts of cannabis. Yet, this is the first time ever that archaeologists have recovered such complete plants, as well as the first indication of their use as a “shroud”covering the body.

The cannabis plants (by National Geographic)
The cannabis plants (by National Geographic)

(after National Geographic)

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