Cannabis chronicles: Prehistoric Europe and Scythia

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Hemp seeds associated with Neolithic habitants were found in Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Rumania. “Polypod” bowls, dated early third millennium, were found in Eastern Europe and there were speculations that they were used to burn cannabis for intoxication. Earliest polypod bowls were found in the east suggesting east-west migration of this culture. Hemp seeds were found in a grave in Rumania, dated third millennium BC.

Scythia
Scythia

In the mid fifth century BC a Greek historian described cannabis-burning technique, which was used during funerals in Scythia. Scythia covered a large area stretching from Ukraine to present-day Italy. Copper vessels for burned cannabis were found in Siberia, which was part of Scythia.

Cannabis was cultivated in Dacia, which covered part of present day Transylvania and eastern Hungary. According to one of the hypothesis it was used by priests. [1]

There are evidences from Mesolithic times that hemp was used for making baskets, bags and rope. Baskets, bags, sandals and even clothing dated from Late Neolithic period were found in Spain. [3]

In ancient Germanic culture cannabis was used in honour of the Goddess Freya as both – a ritual inebriant and an aphrodisiac and that the harvesting of the plant was connected with an erotic high festival. This view was supported by the archaeological discovery of cannabis in a pre-historic German tomb. Celts have also used cannabis based on evidence of pollen analysis of a bowl from a rich woman’s grave in Bavaria. Other evidences of cannabis use during Celtic times were discovered at St. Andrews in Scotland, dated 800 BC. [4]

Based on fossil pollen cannabis grew from Bulgaria to Sweden by 5000 BCE. Hemp rope and fabric became important commercial products in medieval Europe. Hemp-baking mills in France were powered by animals before 1000 CE, and by water 200 years later. European elites increasingly sought to control hemp to accumulate wealth. Merchant networks for hemp developed across France by the tenth century. [2]

Sources

1. CANNABIS The Genus Cannabis

2. Cannabis

3. Handbook to Life in Prehistoric Europe

4. Cannabis and the Soma Solution

Read more at Cannabis Chronicles

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