Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry

, Volume 352, Issue 3–4, pp 380–384

Presence of drugs in different tissues of an egyptian mummy

  • Franz Parsche
  • Andreas Nerlich
Original Papers Archeometric Analysis

Abstract

Data are presented on the biochemical findings in several intermal organs from an Egyptian mummy with a 14C-dating of approximately 950 B.C. By use of radio immunoassay systems and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, significant amounts of various drugs were detected in internal organs (lung, liver, stomach, intestines) as well as in hair, bone, skin/muscle and tendon. These analyses revealed a significant deposition of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), nicotine (and its metabolite cotinine) and cocaine in the tissue from the mummy. The concentration profiles additionally provide evidence for the preferential ways of consumption: Thus, the highest levels of THC in lung specimens point to an inhalation of this drug — as it has been assumed from known ritual smoking ceremonies —, while nicotine and cocaine containing drugs showed their highest concentrations in the intestines and liver, so that they seem to have been consumed perorally. Furthermore, a histopathological examination of the internal organ tissues revealed some evidence for the underlying disease and the probable cause of death. Thus, a severe and presumably recurrent intravital pulmonary bleeding, most obviously due to a parasitosis affecting the lung, was observed.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Parsche F, Balabanova S, Pirsig W (1995) ERES Archeol (in press)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pirsig W, Balabanova S (1993) Laryno-Rhino-Otol 72:624–627Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Valente D, Cassini M, Pigliapochi M, Vansetti G (1981) Clin Chem 27:1952–1953Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Balabanova S, Arnold PJ, Brunner H, Luckow V, Wolf HU (1989) Z Rechtsmed 102:503–508Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Balabanova S, Parsche F, Pirsig W (1992) Naturwissenschaften 8:358Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Parsche F, Balabanova S, Pirsig W (1993) Lancet 341:503Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Parsche F (1993) Lancet 341:1157Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hobmeier U, Parsche F (1994) Homo 45 (Suppl):S59Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Parsche F, Ziegelmayer G (1985) Munich mummy project — New results. In: Schoske S (ed) Akten des 4. Int. Ägyptologenkongresses. Buske, Hamburg, pp 287–299Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Smith EG, Dawson WR (1924) Egyptian mummies. Allen and Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ruffer MA (1921) Histologic studies in Egyptian mummies. In: Moodie RL (ed) Paleopathology in Egypt. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 49–61Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Grapow H (1958) Medizin der Alten Ägypter IV/1. Akademie Verlag, Berlin, pp 151–152Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Domino EF, Hornbach E, Demana T (1993) New Engl J Med 329:437Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Merxmüller H, Buttler KP (1975) Mitt Bot München 12:91–104Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tapp E, Curry A, Anfield C (1975) Brit Med J 2:276Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bar-Ziv J, Goldberg GM (1974) Arch Env Health 29:121–126Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Policart A, Collet A (1952) Arch Ind Hyg Occup Med 5:527–534Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franz Parsche
    • 1
  • Andreas Nerlich
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Anthropologie und Humangenetik der Universität MünchenMünchenGermany
  2. 2.Pathologisches Institut der Universität MünchenMünchenGermany

Personalised recommendations