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Thread: Evidence of Hemp Use in Copper Age Portugal

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    Regular Member Aberdeen's Avatar
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    Evidence of Hemp Use in Copper Age Portugal



    One of the issues that has been unclear about pre-history is when hemp was first used in western Europe. A new find in Portugal shows evidence of hemp use in Portugal's Copper Age, possibly linking it to the spread of the Bell Beaker culture, an idea that has apparently already been suggested. Hemp string was found attached to a copper spear point.

    http://portugueseenclosures.blogspot...enclosure.html

    I wonder whether this says anything about the possible origins of the Bell Beaker folk, if a plant from outside Europe such as hemp is in fact associated with that culture.
    Last edited by Aberdeen; 05-05-14 at 21:15. Reason: additional comment re possible BB origins

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    One of the major Bell Beaker burial sites is under a place called Hemp Hill in Britain. Kind of makes you wonder just how long hemp was grown at Hemp Hill.

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    When did copper reach India?

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldeuropeanculture View Post
    When did copper reach India?
    Copper seems to have been used in northern India since about 6000 years BP, although the exact date appears to be uncertain because only limited archeology has been done. Southern India doesn't seem to have had a copper age, and went from stone tools to bronze or iron, depending on what source one reads. The Copper Age in northern India probably ended when Iranian invaders arrived in northern India from Central Asia. However, it's difficult to find any reliable information about the timing of that change (apparently about 3500 BP) because Indian archeologists and linguists don't like to talk about the Aryan (Iranian) invaders, and prefer to imagine that Indo-European culture and language began in India, rather than on the steppes of southern Russia. However, India certainly has nothing to do with the Bell Beaker culture of western Europe, so your question seems to me to be a bit off topic for this particular thread.

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    Aberdeen, Hemp originated in Central Asia. So if it did arrive in Western Europe during copper age, maybe it came to the western Europe with copper. And was first made in the Balkans, by vinca culture....Was there a vincan link between copper and hemp? Or did hemp arrive to Europe with one of the later European invasions into Asia because they kept trading ties with the old country?

    The copper found in north India in the 6th millennium. Was it smelted?

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    The word "hemp" is used by linguists to trace the development of Germanic languages - the theory is that Germanics acquired it from Scythians sometimes around the 5th century BC, and then turned Scythian "Cannabis" into Germanic "Hanf"/"hemp". On that theory, the infamous first Germanic sound shift (centum->hundred) is dated to some time between the 5th and 1st century BC.
    If hemp had been known in Europe much earlier, the question is why it didn't reach Northern Europe before. Or did it, under a different name that got lost? Or is the first Germanic sound shift much older than assumed? This would of course have massive implication on the whole theory of the development of IE languages.

    P.S: I did a little Google check. Hemp hasn't been found yet in LBK settlements (but at least five such settlements in the Rhineland cultivated poppy seed). The first hemp seed has been found in a 5,500 year old middle Neolithic grave in Eisenberg, Thuringia. A Bavarian Bronze Age burial (1,600-1,300 BC) contained a pipe that was used for smoking hemp. There is some speculation that the cords imprinted in Corded Ware were in fact hemp cords, but hemp threads appear to be difficult to distinguish from nettle, so that's all speculation so far. Widespread hemp cultivation is attested for Hallstatt culture Celts, and iron-age Germanics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldeuropeanculture View Post
    Aberdeen, Hemp originated in Central Asia. So if it did arrive in Western Europe during copper age, maybe it came to the western Europe with copper. And was first made in the Balkans, by vinca culture....Was there a vincan link between copper and hemp? Or did hemp arrive to Europe with one of the later European invasions into Asia because they kept trading ties with the old country?

    The copper found in north India in the 6th millennium. Was it smelted?
    I realize that hemp originated in Central Asia - it's the type of Cannabis Sativa that's low in THC, so it won't get you high. A different strain of Cannabis Sativa does contain substantial amounts of THC but Cannabis Indica, which comes from Southern Asia, has a more physical high, which makes it better suited for pain relief.

    It's been theorized that both hemp and the fun kind of Cannabis Sativa were cultivated in Europe during the Neolithic, but it's difficult to find evidence of that, and I don't know of any definite evidence that it has any particular affinity to copper smelting. The first written record of Cannabis use comes from Heredotus's Histories, written about 440 BC. He said "The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy." However, I think we can assume that both hemp and the fun kind of Cannabis were used long before that. Russian researchers have talked about ancient ritual sites where they found traces of both opium poppies and Cannabis.

    When I referred to copper in India, I was talking about copper smelting. People have apparently been cold hammering copper into tools for thousands of years.




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