University of Chicago: Study of Smoking in Pre-Colonization North America

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briarfriar

Senior Member
The study can be read here, but a press release from the university should suffice. Click here.

Excerpted:


The study looked at two pipes — one from the period before indigenous people had contact with Euro-Americans and one from after. The post-contact pipe dates to around the end of the 18th century, while the pre-contact pipe is estimated to be between 1334 and 1524 years old. Brownstein and his team also tested five full bowls of a variety of commonly smoked plants in each of five experimental replica pipes, and then divided the pipes into parts — an effort to classify the species in the two artifacts, detect compounds in the smoked plant, and replicate the archaeological preservation process.

Ultimately, the research team found a biomarker for nicotine in both the pre-contact and post-contact pipes, indicating that tobacco had probably been smoked in each. Using metabolomics, the team saw specifically that the tobacco species N. quadrivalvis — a species now extremely rare in Washington state — had been smoked out of the pre-contact pipe, along with R. glabra — a species of sumac — which was often mixed with tobacco for its medicinal qualities and to improve the taste of the smoke. This study marks the first scientific proof of a non-tobacco plant in an archaeological pipe.
 

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
31,232
15,623
Native American Nations who used tobacco smoked many herbs in their pipes, and they still have kinnikinnik which is various herbal materials, some including tobacco and some not. Trust University of Chicago to make a discovery of this, but they do turn up some history of interest.
 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
22,558
19,051
The study can be read here, but a press release from the university should suffice. Click here.

Excerpted:


The study looked at two pipes — one from the period before indigenous people had contact with Euro-Americans and one from after. The post-contact pipe dates to around the end of the 18th century, while the pre-contact pipe is estimated to be between 1334 and 1524 years old. Brownstein and his team also tested five full bowls of a variety of commonly smoked plants in each of five experimental replica pipes, and then divided the pipes into parts — an effort to classify the species in the two artifacts, detect compounds in the smoked plant, and replicate the archaeological preservation process.

Ultimately, the research team found a biomarker for nicotine in both the pre-contact and post-contact pipes, indicating that tobacco had probably been smoked in each. Using metabolomics, the team saw specifically that the tobacco species N. quadrivalvis — a species now extremely rare in Washington state — had been smoked out of the pre-contact pipe, along with R. glabra — a species of sumac — which was often mixed with tobacco for its medicinal qualities and to improve the taste of the smoke. This study marks the first scientific proof of a non-tobacco plant in an archaeological pipe.
Much longer ago than that.

 
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craig61a

Preferred Member
Apr 29, 2017
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Plenty of Sumac around here, but I doubt I’ll be blazing any up anytime soon...
 

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