Archaeologists Find 2,400 Year-Old Solid Gold Bongs in Russia

By May Wilkerson 06/08/15

Researchers found traces of weed and opium inside the gold vessels.

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Turns out ancient humans had some pretty classy instruments for smoking drugs. Archaeologists in Russia have unearthed two 2,400-year-old bongs, made from solid gold, that are believed to have been used by Scythian tribal chiefs for smoking pot and opium.

The bongs were discovered along with a host of other items, including gold cups and rings, in a massive grave mound called a “kurgan.” Anton Gass, an archaeologist at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, described the artifacts as "among the finest objects we know from the region.”

The Scythians were a group of nomads who migrated from Central Asia to Southern Russia and Eastern Europe and founded a powerful empire in the area now known as Crimea. According to ancient Greek historian Herodotus, they liked to get high. "Scythians used a plant to produce smoke that no Grecian vapor-bath can surpass which made them shout aloud,” he said.

This latest discovery seems to corroborate his theory. Scientists analyzed black residue found inside two heavy, bucket-shaped gold vessels and found traces of weed and opium. They believe the vessels were used to burn and smoke marijuana, as well as to brew a drink made from opium. "That both drugs were being used simultaneously is beyond doubt," said Gass.

The kurgan was discovered accidentally in 2013 by construction workers who were clearing the land to install a power line. "It was definitely a surprise for us,” said archaeologist Andrei Belinski, who began the excavation work. “We weren't expecting to find anything like this."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.