MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) – The ancient Pazyryk princess discovered by Russian scientists about two decades ago in the Altai Mountains suffered from breast cancer, having used cannabis to relieve the pain, scientists have revealed.
"We are dealing with a primary tumour in the right breast and right axial lymph nodes with metastases… I am quite sure of the diagnosis - she had cancer. She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact," said Andrey Letyagin, a Russian academic, cited the Siberian Times.
Russian scientists believe that the woman, dubbed "Ice Princess", used marijuana in order to release her pain, referring to a container with cannabis that had been found in her burial site.
"It is likely that for this sick woman, the regular inhalation of cannabis smoke was a necessity," explains archeologist Professor Natalya Polosmak in her article devoted to the mysterious life and death of the Altai Princess, published in Siberian academic journal Science First Hand.
According to the professor, the ice princess "was a little over 20 years old" when she became ill with cancer. "When she arrived in winter camp on Ukok in October, she had the fourth stage of breast cancer. She had severe pain and the strongest intoxication, which caused the loss of physical strength," writes Professor Natalya Polosmak, who first found the princesses remains in 1993.
However, her kinsmen didn't leave her to die, but took care of her. That the tribe welcomed the terminally ill woman to their winter camp indicates her importance, the professor points out, suggesting that the mysterious princess may have been a female-shaman.
Her burial, clothes and beautiful jewelry confirm the assumption that the woman was of a "high class." According to the professor, tattoos decorating the woman's body were "the most complicated and the most beautiful" compared to those of other mummies discovered by archeologists around the world, the Huffington Post reported.
Dr. Polosmak insists that scientists should pay "special attention" to the princesses use of analgesics. "In ancient cultures, from which there is a written testimony, such analgesics were used wine, hashish, opium, henbane, an extract of mandrake, aconite and Indian hemp. The Pazyryks knew hemp and its features," she emphasizes.
In altered states of consciousness, the princess could "communicate" with gods and spirits, rendering her "a chosen being" in the eyes of her tribesmen.
Although the Ice Princess lived more than 2,500 years ago, Altai people still believe in her "supernatural powers," the Siberian Times reports. According to the media outlet, locals claim that the princess should be reburied: By having excavated the ancient woman’s remains, archeologists have opened the gates to the "kingdom of the dead." Elders warn "the entrance remains open."