Monday, September 10, 2012

Put that in your pipe and smoke it

Pipe fragments, from the Mont-Louis site in Gaspésie. 

The latest issue of Le Fil, Laval University's weekely bulletin, contains an interesting piece on cutting-edge research being done on smoking pipes in New France.  Archaeologists usually rely on stylistic analysis to tell the origin of the clay pipes which are regularly found on North American colonial sites.  Françoise Duguay, a doctoral student in archaeology at Laval, has been pioneering the use of the chemical contents analysis in the study of pipes found in this neck of the woods.  Having tested five such pipes of unclear origins from sites around Trois-Rivières, she's found that in three cases the style is Dutch but the chemical signature likely betrays... French clay!  To quote Duguay: "The imitators of Gucci bags and Rolex watches have invented nothing.  At the time, no [French] law prohibited the counterfeiting of pipes and some French craftsmen may have attempted to profit from the fame of Dutch brands."

For those who crave more on the subject, Duguay's scholarly paper on the subject can be found in the latest issue of the Newsletter of the Society for Clay Pipe Research


  1. Really enjoying the new blog Charlevoix.

  2. Thanks, Chris. I'm working on it: next thing you know you'll be forsaking Mackenzie King, reinventing yourself as an Early Canadianist, and anxiously awaiting your next issue of the _Newsletter of the Society for Clay Pipe Research_ in the mail.