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Rameses II and the tobacco beetle

  • P. C. Buckland (a1) and E. Panagiotakopulu (a2)


The use of a wide range of narcotic drugs in antiquity has been widely documented, although archaeologists have sometimes been too credulous of apparently scientific data, and have failed to appreciate the post-excavation histories of artefacts, including mummies. This paper examines the discovery of tobacco in the mummy of Rameses II, provides an alternative model for its origin, as a 19th-century insecticide used in conservation, and throws doubt upon the evidence for both cannabis and cocaine in ancient Egypt.



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