Seeing What Smoking Pipes Signal(ed): An Examination of Late Woodland and Early Contact Period(A.D.900-1665) Native Social Dynamics in the Middle Atlantic

Bollwerk, Elizabeth Anne, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
Hantman, Jeffrey, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
Plog, Stephen, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
Wattenmaker, Patricia, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
Nowviskie, Bethany, University of Virginia Library, University of Virginia

This dissertation explores the integral role Native tobacco smoking pipes played in the processes of interaction, individual and group expression, and innovation that were part of Native social networks in the Middle Atlantic region of the United States during the Late Woodland and early Contact periods (A.D. 900 to 1665). While previous work in the region has focused on mapping similarities in ceramic wares and projectile points that were thought to represent the boundaries of cultural areas, this dissertation examines how stylistic variations of material culture are linked to other axes of social differentiation and interaction that also constituted Native social landscapes. Data from a sample of 2,543 pipes from 70 archaeological assemblages distributed throughout the Middle Atlantic was used to evaluate what the stylistic variations of pipes mapped across space and time reveal about the dynamic social and ritual processes that were an integral part of Native societies. The project's analysis begins by synthesizing information from sixteenth and seventeenth century historical accounts to explain how pipe smoking was an important spiritual and diplomatic practice primarily associated with elder male leaders among prehistoric and Contact period Native groups. Next, a stylistic analysis of pipes assesses variability among pipe forms and attributes. Significantly, spatial analyses conducted using ArcGIS reveal that the geographic distributions of many of the forms and attributes did not 'map on' to traditionally defined cultural boundaries. In many cases, geographically dispersed stylistic patterns support textual evidence that pipes were an integral part of interaction between groups spread throughout the region. In other instances however, the clustered patterning of certain forms and stylistic units suggests iv such elements may have been used to communicate information on an intra-community level. Changes in distributions over time were also apparent. Additionally, an LA-ICP- MS test of the chemical composition of a subset of clay pipe fragments indicated that it was the circulation of ideas and not pipes that had caused some stylistic elements to be widely distributed. By providing a more comprehensive picture of Native social geography this dissertation demonstrates the dynamic nature of past Native communities.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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