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The hair of a 21st dynasty priestess, Henut Taui, was found to contain significant amounts of coc aine and nicotine. The implications of finding evidence of possible tobacco and coc aine use in the remains of a woman who died 2,500 years before Columbus were not lost on the doctor.
Dr Balabanova used a hair shaft test which is accepted in a court of law as proof that a substance was consumed while the subject was alive. The sample is washed in alcohol to remove any environmental contamination and the washing solution itself is tested to make sure it is clear. This method is considered reliable enough to fire or even imprison people based on the results.
She performed further tests to rule out contamination and sent samples to three different forensic laboratories who confirmed her findings. She carried out further tests on mummies from a wide variety of locations and dates and found that about a third of them showed results similar to Henut Taui.
Balabanova went on to test 134 additional mummies and bodies, including ones from Sudan, China, and Austria. One-third of them tested positive for nicotine and coc aine.
Even the mummy of Ramses was examined. Not only were tobacco and coc aine found in his body, but the nicotine was 35x that of an average cigarette smoker.
The results are from contaminated samples.
The remains are modern fakes, supplied by unscrupulous traders to meet the ever increasing demand of European museums.
There is no reference to either coc aine or tobacco anywhere in Egyptian records, it’s use is not depicted in any of the thousands of carvings and wall paintings.
The findings are controversial because while other researchers have also detected the presence of coc aine and nicotine in Egyptian mummies, two successive analyses on other groups of Egyptian mummies and human remains failed to fully reproduce Balabanova's results, and some showing positive results only for nicotine.[
In 1983, the Brazilian government, which had been cooperative up to that point, suddenly and without any real explanation denied Marx’s request for permission to further explore the area. In fact, they even went as far as to ban him from entering the country at all, citing the allegations that he had stolen numerous historical objects from shipwrecks all over the country, and with Guanabara Bay this would extend into a full ban on any underwater exploration by anyone whatsoever. The frustrated Marx then accused the Brazilian government of a cover-up, saying that they were trying to wipe out anything that would clash with the established known history of the country, and this was why no effort had ever been made to investigate the fishermen’s claims in the past. He even went as far as to accuse the Brazilian Navy of burying the jars and possible shipwreck in silt in order to keep them hidden, which they denied.
originally posted by: Moohide
At a distance of 1600 miles (2575 km), Africa and South America are not really that far away for a decent ship and crew to sail, and take the lightest and most valuable cargo on board.
originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus
a reply to: FauxMulder
There's also allegedly Roman amphorae off the coast of Brazil so there is further speculation that contact was made prior to the pre-Columbian period.
originally posted by: Flavian
It is possible but i don't buy it for the simple reason that one shipwreck is not evidence of anything. It could simply have been a trading vessel blown way off course. Roman ships went down the Atlantic side of Northern Africa, at least as far south as what is now Mauretania. A big storm blowing a ship into the Atlantic and you have big problems then. For one thing, Roman ships are not designed for Ocean going (big difference between the non tidal Mediterranean and a proper ocean like the Atlantic). Even in the Med, Roman ships stuck to coastlines as much as possible
Plants such as potatoes or tomatoes contain small amounts of nicotine and where they form a significant part of a person’s diet it is possible to build up a large enough residue in hair and tissue samples to show up in tests. Such an explanation however raises as many questions as it resolves as both plants originate in the New World.