Smoking as a Form of Persistence in a Christian Nipmuc Community

Publication Year:
2017
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Repository URL:
https://scholarworks.umb.edu/masters_theses/437
Author(s):
Rymer, Jessica Ann
Tags:
Native American women; New England; practice; smoking; tobacco pipe; Archaeological Anthropology; Indigenous Studies; Social and Cultural Anthropology
thesis / dissertation description
The goal of this thesis is to determine the role that smoking played in the gatherings taking place at the Sarah Burnee/Sarah Boston farmstead and what its presence meant for the Nipmuc who gathered there. Previous work has firmly established that the farmstead functioned as a site of communal feasting for the Hassanamesco Nipmuc using ceramic and faunal evidence, and Heather Law in her 2008 thesis suggested that the site may have operated as an “informal tavern” based on her analysis of the glass assemblage. In all of these studies clay tobacco pipe fragments were utilized for stem bore diameter dating because the size of the assemblage remained small (47 fragments). With the close of excavations in 2013, however, and the writing of the final report, the total number of clay pipe fragments rose to 314, making a more robust analysis possible. Tobacco has both a religious and diplomatic function for Native people, and spatial statistics indicating that smoking and drinking behavior were only generally correlated across the site suggest preliminarily that smoking may have served additional functions not associated with recreation. To answer the question of what role smoking played in gatherings at the SB/SB farmstead, this thesis will compare the pipe assemblage to that from a documented Nipmuc “gathering place”, the meeting house and school at the Nipmuc praying town of Magunkaquog. Knowing that both Hassanamesit and Magunkaquog were places where Native peoples adopted European goods into their daily practices, this thesis will also compare these pipe assemblages to the pipe assemblage from an Anglo-American tavern, the Golden Ball, for similarities and differences that will illuminate how the Nipmuc may have incorporated European made white clay pipes in Native smoking practices.