A Debunking of Cocaine Mummies

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posted on May, 20 2011 @ 02:30 PM
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I offer this for consideration...

Mummies in Egypt and containers have found residue that indicated coca extracts in hair and on the pottery. While to some this points out a South American connection in trade, there may exist an alternate theory of why these remains are there.

No, there is no African coca bush. But there is atropa belladonnaand other tropane alkaloidsbearing plants which are well known for their pharmacological effects on the body.

The link I would like to point out is tropane. This chemical ring is the active ingredient that creates the drug effect of coca, belladonna, mandrake, and datura.

I posit that after 3000 years, the deterioration of processed plant product has degenerated into an unidentifiable extract with tropane alkaloids, and the residue discovered in hair from mummies is simply metabolized belladonna, as the end product in tropane which is present in both coca and belladonna. Modern blood tests search for metabolites of coca, but with no liquid blood, the only thing to check for are deposits of tropane alkaloids

Occam's Razor lends validation to this idea.

Thoughts?
edit on 20/5/11 by MagoSA because: (no reason given)
edit on 20/5/11 by MagoSA because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 20 2011 @ 02:41 PM
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reply to post by MagoSA
 


Possible, but when we've got anomalies such as the Piri Reis map and other items suggesting a much older familiarity with the planet than our current understanding assumes, I would not rule out the possibility of ancient intercontinental travel and trade.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 03:00 PM
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Originally posted by Praetorius
reply to post by MagoSA
 


Possible, but when we've got anomalies such as the Piri Reis map and other items suggesting a much older familiarity with the planet than our current understanding assumes, I would not rule out the possibility of ancient intercontinental travel and trade.



Other research indicates, though, that the Piri Reis map doesn't depict more than a wonky view of Africa's coastline

I would love to think that there is a connection between the older civilizations. But, with this in mind, I can't justify thinking coca when the same forensic result will turn up with belladonna, which already was known in those times.

My mom used to tell me that when you hear hoofbeats you should think horses, not zebras. In this case, a well-known drug versus an exotic one.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by MagoSA
 


I wouldn't dispute your hypothesis at all and as you say - its the OR. Most ancient peoples relied on their Shamen accessing the otherside and often it was done through various concoctions of plants etc so man has a very long history of using various drugs and I expect the top courtiers and kings had their pick.

I do wonder if the academic attitude to the capabilities of civilisations like the Egyptians is actually very limited. We know they were great boat builders for warfare and travel. Its probably not unlikely that the Egyptians would have navigated the Mediterranean and gone out onto the Atlantic. They could have stopped at the Azores and there is also the possibility that there were various small islands further south and then onto the Americas. We do know that there have been large civilisations on that continent and mankind is an intrepid traveller.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 04:56 PM
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reply to post by MagoSA
 
It's a fresh approach to the 'coc aine mummies' and worth pursuing. Balabanova's evidence isn't thought to be hoaxed, but it's highly anomalous and doubts remain about contamination of the samples. A few people have misrepresented the results and extrapolated way beyond anything reasonable.

One of the doubts was that chemical compounds, similar to coke, were created by decomposition over the centuries. It's hard to replicate such a process to falsify the results nevertheless your OP could be on the right track?

On the other hand, it could be a wild goose chase as subsequent analysis of mummies taken directly from mummies in situ have failed to find anything similar. The Balabanova samples are the only incidences of coc aine.

I posted some interesting links on the same topic a couple of years ago..here and here.

If we accept the hypothesis that the analyses actually identify a process of decomposing compounds, it allows for the accuracy of Balabanova's study without needing to 'magic up' a fantasy history of trans-oceanic trade between cultures/civilisations that hadn't reached that level of technology.

S&F



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 05:11 PM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


I wish I had paid closer attention in chemistry. But there were no hot chicks in the lectures.

I recall that pretty much all the entertainment drugs are based on a benzene or indole ring. A lot of tests are based on that ring, and the valencies of the molecules arranged around it. Since most of them are aromatics, they probably decay rapidly anyways.

You'd have to compare the sample with some 2500 year old coc aine residue, just to be sure.

The ancient Egyptians used Khat, which has effects similar to those of coc aine. Wanna bet there's a similar molecular architecture?

Maybe a few of them were buried with bunches of Khat in the sarcophagus, so they'd have enough marching powder to make the hike to the next world.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 08:05 PM
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Although I'm no expert in botany or chemistry, I am pretty well versed in archaeology and anthropology. Your theory seems much more plausible, and I appreciate the use of Occam's Razor to support it (even though in most of my arguments, Occam's Razor is the enemy) because I believe it is a much more stable idea than intercontinental trade at that time.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 09:38 PM
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IT is also possible that the mummies that were tested weren't as old as first thought. It is also possible that the original mummies had been taken for whatever reason and the mummies that tested positive were newer, so to speak. The mummies also tested positive for nicotine is such high concentrations that the only source could have came from tobacco. N. America is where tobacco plant is indigenous.

I believe that there was trading between the continents at that period in time. Most undoubtedly the ancient Egyptians knew of the coca plant.



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 03:11 AM
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reply to post by kimish
 
If the samples were uncontaminated, the nicotine would be dietary nicotine from food staples like the egg-plant.



I believe that there was trading between the continents at that period in time. Most undoubtedly the ancient Egyptians knew of the coca plant.


A lot of people share this belief so you're not alone and it's been around for years too. Unfortunately, there isn't enough evidence to support the idea. Until there is, it's reasonable to accept that neither the AE or South American cultures (proto-Mayans, Olmecs or Zapotecs) had the technology needed to make trans-oceanic journeys. The AEs left behind boats that we can study today and they depicted these boats on temple walls. They also described trade missions and detailed the locations and goods they sought.

Ships were for high-status, wealthy individuals and families. They represented the same investments as they do to today's ship owners....wealth generators and/or status symbols. Sending a valuable possession like a ship and her crew on a 13 000 mile round trip wouldn't be taken lightly.

I guess there are many reasons to doubt the existence of ancient trans-oceanic trade and very few to support it.



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 09:59 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


As far as the high concentrations of nicotine go scientist say the only source that could've produced such high concentrations is the tobacco plant. I am aware the nicotine exists in other flora but not at the high levels that tobacco carries it.

The Olmec had constructed statues of figures that were totally Negroid in appearance. I think that in one way or another there was contact between the old and new worlds. There is soo much that is unfound or lost it is very well possible.



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 10:54 AM
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reply to post by MagoSA
 

Interesting idea.

Whether you are correct depends on what they tested for in the original tests. I have a pharmacology degree and will take a look at the original papers at some point in the near future. I am pretty bloody busy as I have just arrived back from a conference. However, I am aware of the research and also take the idea of trade across the Atlantic in ancient times seriously so realise why you are looking at this.

Please be patient and give me a poke in the next week if I forget.



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
A lot of people share this belief so you're not alone and it's been around for years too. Unfortunately, there isn't enough evidence to support the idea. Until there is, it's reasonable to accept that neither the AE or South American cultures (proto-Mayans, Olmecs or Zapotecs) had the technology needed to make trans-oceanic journeys. The AEs left behind boats that we can study today and they depicted these boats on temple walls. They also described trade missions and detailed the locations and goods they sought.

Ships were for high-status, wealthy individuals and families. They represented the same investments as they do to today's ship owners....wealth generators and/or status symbols. Sending a valuable possession like a ship and her crew on a 13 000 mile round trip wouldn't be taken lightly.

If there is any doubt on here as to whether trans-oceanic journeys were possible I refer you to the voyages of Thor Hyerdal.


The boats Ra and Ra II

In 1969 and 1970, Heyerdahl built two boats from papyrus and attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco in Africa. Based on drawings and models from ancient Egypt, the first boat, named Ra, was constructed by boat builders from Lake Chad using papyrus reed obtained from Lake Tana in Ethiopia and launched into the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Morocco. After a number of weeks, Ra took on water after its crew made modifications to the vessel that caused it to sag and break apart. The ship was abandoned and the following year, another similar vessel, Ra II, was built of totora by boatmen from Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and likewise set sail across the Atlantic from Morocco, this time with great success. The boat reached Barbados, thus demonstrating that mariners could have dealt with trans-Atlantic voyages by sailing with the Canary Current.

A book, The Ra Expeditions, and a film documentary Ra (1972) were made about the voyages.
en.wikipedia.org...
edit on 21/5/11 by Pimander because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Pimander
 
Heyerdahl brings a proof of concept, but nothing we have found in Egypt or S America from the period indicates they had anywhere near the technology for trans-oceanic journeys. Cheryl Ward has written a interesting (and illustrated) paper on the Egyptian boat builders....worth reading.



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 11:31 AM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
reply to post by Pimander
 
Heyerdahl brings a proof of concept, but nothing we have found in Egypt or S America from the period indicates they had anywhere near the technology for trans-oceanic journeys.

He did slightly more than that. He demonstrated that it was possible in ancient times to cross oceans with the available technology.

In fact it looks as though the Egyptians were capable of building far better boats than the ones used by Hyerdahl. Of course, that doesn't mean they used that technology to cross oceans but I can't help thinking that the Egyptians will have a few surprises for us yet.

Thanks for the info on the paper and is yet another for my overloaded in-tray.



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 11:35 AM
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reply to post by kimish
 



As far as the high concentrations of nicotine go scientist say the only source that could've produced such high concentrations is the tobacco plant. I am aware the nicotine exists in other flora but not at the high levels that tobacco carries it.


Can you post a link to the paper or a site with the information? The studies I've read haven't found nicotine to be higher than dietary levels. I'll happily suspend judgement if newer or conflicting analyses are out there.



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 11:43 AM
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reply to post by Pimander
 
The Egyptians weren't building ocean-worthy vessels. We have a number of virtually intact boats and parts of boats to draw conclusions from. Furthermore, amongst the furthest direct trade links was Punt...recently found to be Eritrea. This was some 1200 miles by the Nile and tributaries.

These journeys to Punt were recorded as great accomplishments and helped to drive the AE economy. Journeys to an unknown continent (13 000 mile round trip) would be recorded and would also require an incentive. No records exist and I'm at a loss to think of the incentive...



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 12:16 PM
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Very interesting idea and quite possibly true, but I still think there was periods of ancient global movement and trade even if it was accidental; ie boats being carried by storms from one continent to the next. In fact the only real barrier to discovering the new world in ancient times, I would say was a self imposed mental barrier, and that was the idea that the world was flat and personally I think that was implemented to keep the masses from discovering the new world that the royals and the church already knew about, because if you go back to the ancient Greeks and others there is evidence that they knew the world was round. Plus, you have the story recorded in the "Royal Commentary of the Incas" that claims Columbus actually heard about the new world from a dying captain, one of the last survivors of a ship that was blown by a storm to the new world. Also, you have roysslyn chapel, which appears to have maize and tobacco plants in it's carvings, but was constructed before Columbus. Of course, if royalty and others new about the new world before Columbus, it does make the promulgation of the flat world theory make some sense, because if you think about it, what better way for the royals to keep people away from another continent, then to tell them if they sail to far away from there own they will fall off the earth and be devoured by serpents. Peace be with you.
edit on 21-5-2011 by themessengernevermatters because: spelling correction



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 12:39 PM
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chemical in Khat is cathinone: en.wikipedia.org...
chemical in coc aine is benzolmethylecognine: en.wikipedia.org...

similar structures, both have benzyl group but that's about it

There will be a different substance left over if the drug was taken orally, nasally, or by pyrolisation/vapourisation. We must also consider that there are many psychoactive substances contained in medicinal herbs and we aren't necessarily talking about Tut getting blowed off his butt. More likely in my opinion is that Tut maybe acquired some herbs from the west for medicinal purposes. So these drugs may have been metabolized by different enzymes depending on the route of administration, leaving different trace chemicals, or the drugs might have been applied topically (coc aine is a local anaesthetic, nicotine kills bugs) or not to the skin at all, leaving no metabolites behind.

If they only found tropane alkaloids, then belladonna or a comparable herb is almost certainly the culprit. Belladonna = pretty lady in Italian. The plant is named belladonna because the tropane alkaloids will dilate one's pupils and an extract was taken by women to enlarge and therefore beautify their eyes. Please do not take belladonna to get high. You will only fall into delirium for a couple days. Not fun/safe.



posted on May, 21 2011 @ 12:46 PM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
Journeys to an unknown continent (13 000 mile round trip) would be recorded and would also require an incentive. No records exist and I'm at a loss to think of the incentive...

I agree they would be recorded normally - unless they were kept quiet. Remember that many merchants would never reveal where their rarest and most valuable goods were from for obvious reasons. Goods required for important rituals required by the priesthood may fall into the category of extremely secret.

We still need more evidence though for this to be any more than speculation.



posted on May, 23 2011 @ 01:15 PM
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Originally posted by Pimander

I agree they would be recorded normally - unless they were kept quiet. Remember that many merchants would never reveal where their rarest and most valuable goods were from for obvious reasons.



I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learned that 'someone had done it'...once, in ancient history.

The problem is "Meaningful" contact.

When two alien cultures come in contact, the FIRST thing people appropriate is military technology. Then comes food, cooking, and food husbandry.

3 years after Cousteau's son sailed up the Amazon, the entire basin had bic lighters and M-16's. Likewise, the !Kung had plastic grocery sacks a couple of years after they appeared in super markets.

The inca and aztecs were both experimenting with copper-tin alloys (trying to develop brass) while the spaniards were wading ashore. There are metallurgical issues to sort out, but they instantly began copying the technology once they saw Spanish examples.

Likewise, the ndns of the American Southwest had horses by 1688, and practically every tribe (except the Utes and a few others, where it was too arid for equines) had horses within 40 years...and that's saying a lot since they had no prior concept of domestication and breeding techniques.

So how come, if there had been culturally meaningful contact, did the native americans not copy the pottery wheel? Some artistic technologies like Egyptian glass-making were considered state secrets; but the technique of turning pottery is obvious in the product itself. Many indians intuited the technique from a close examination of trade goods. The cherokees quickly copied it from european colonial wares. Why couldn't the predecessors of the incas, or the olmecs, have done the same?

What about chain mail? The "coc aine mummies are actually ptolemaic, and not classical New Kingdom mummies, if I remember correctly; so why didn't they have greek armor and ship-building technologies?

And what about the Egyptians? certainly turkey, corn and potatoes could have been easily transferred back to the old world, and were by 1500. So why not in 300 BC? Why bother taking coc aine (but not bringing cultivars), and still skipping the excellent foodstuffs the americas brought? Why no Chocolate?

The problem with all hypotheses of ancient contact is that you have to invoke "secret" contacts and technologies to explain why intelligent, even crafty, humans would not utilize excellent technologies when they saw it---which their descendants did so quickly, in historical times.

Leif Ericcson made Contact. I believe St. Brendan did too. But the contact ended with the man....



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