Pleasure of a Pipe
“Tobacco is the currant Coyn of Mary-Land,
sooner purchase Commodities from the Merchant, then money.” — George Alsop, 1666
Many activities can affect the skeleton, if repeated again and again. The wear and tear of growing tobacco bent the backs of colonists, while the habit of smoking tobacco in clay pipes damaged and stained their teeth. As they clenched the pipe between their teeth, the abrasive clay of the pipe stem wore facets in the enamel of the teeth around the pipe. Eventually these facets left holes in the bite.
Nearly everyone in the colonial Chesapeake, young and old, men and women, was smoking—a fact that only skeletal evidence could reveal. Skulls of men, women, and even children from the 17th-Century sites of Patuxent Point show pipe facets, some so deep they caused abscessed teeth.
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