2,400 Year Old Solid Gold Bongs Uncovered
Although they look extremely different to the modern day bongs you may be used to, these two solid gold contraptions were used as part of ceremonial rituals involving cannabis and opium.
It is thought that these bongs were used by the tribal chiefs of the Scythians, a group of nomadic warriors that held a lot of sway across the grasslands of Europe and Asia for over a thousand years, dating all the way back to the 9th Century BC. It would make these bongs over 2,400 years old – the oldest in existence. What makes this all the more impressive is the fact that they are solid gold. I don’t know about you, but we think owning a solid gold bong is pretty bad ass! (If maybe not practical).
Each bong was found with a thick layer of black residue in them, which were later determined by arachnologists to be the residue of use. The Scythians were historically known for their love of cannabis and opium, and would both smoke, and brew it into powerful concoctions before battle. This was documented by the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, who wrote, “Scythians used a plant to produce smoke that no Grecian vapour-bath can surpass,” and that "transported by the vapour, [they] shout aloud”.
Whilst the idea of making a cannabis-opium brew may seem odd, according to Antonn Gass of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the idea “that both drugs were being used simultaneously is beyond doubt."
The bongs themselves tell an interesting story, each depicting a scene with their ornate craftsmanship. One has the image of an old bearded man slaying younger warriors. It is thought that this may portray the “bastard wars” Herodotus wrote of – in which warriors returned home to kill the secret love children of their wives. The other displays a more mystical scene, with gryphon like creatures ripping horses and stags apart. Pretty heavy subject areas to have on a bong!
The ancient bongs were uncovered by construction workers in Russia assembling power lines. The area was later combed over more thoroughly by archaeologists, who found additional gold neck rings and bowls.
These awesome examples of cannabis history are now on display at a museum in Russia, along with the other findings from the area. Seems like the Scythians knew how to get high in style!