The First Bongs

Dry herbs used for smoking can be dated back to Central Asia and Africa. However, recent excavations in Russia show that the tribal chiefs of the Iranian-Eurasian Scyth tribe once smoked out of golden bongs about 2400 years ago. This is the earliest findings of ancient bong use. Before the Scythian bongs were excavated, the earliest known bongs were found in an Ethiopian cave, and were dated between 1100 and 1400 CE. 11 bongs were found in the cave, and many extended underground to create a cooling system. These bongs used ducts and bottles that were made out of animal horns and primitive pottery.

The first written records of bong usage come from Central Asia in the 16th century. The word “bong” comes from the Thai word, “buang,” which specifically referred to the bamboo bongs that were common in Central Asia. It is theorized that the use of water in bongs was introduced during the Ming Dynasty in China, which spread via the Silk Road. One Chinese regent, Empress Dowager Cixi, was even found buried with her three prized bongs during the Qing Dynasty.

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