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No. 111: May-Jun 1997

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Tobacco And Cocaine In Ancient Egypt

The current newsletter of the New England Antiquities Research Association has flagged an important anomaly that appeared on a 1997 TV program.

"In January [1997] the Discovery Channel broadcast a program stating that cocaine and tobacco had been found in Egyptian mummies known to be at least 3,000 years old. Tests used modern forensic methods and were repeated many times under carefully controlled conditions. Since coca and tobacco are not known to have grown anywhere other than the Americas, the evidence points to trade routes across the Pacific or Atlantic in those remote times. The program seemed to favor a Pacific crossing and then delivery via the Silk Route. Watch for a rebroadcast."

This news item continued with a reference to Dr. Balabanov's supporting tests on bodies from China, Germany and Austria, spanning the years 3,700 BC to 1100 AD. These bodies contained incredibly high percentages of nicotine.

(Ross, Priscilla; NEARA Transit, 9:5, Spring 1997.)

Comment. In SF#7/48, back in 1978, we reported that the mummy of Rameses II contained anomalous traces of nicotine.

From Science Frontiers #111, MAY-JUN 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss