oa South African Journal of Science - Chemical analysis of residues from seventeenth-century clay pipes from Stratford-upon-Avon and environs : research in action

Volume 97, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN : 0038-2353
  • E-ISSN: 1996-7489



Organic residues associated with 17th-century clay pipe bowls and pipe stems from England, including samples from the site of William Shakespeare's residence in Stratford-upon-Avon, have been chemically analysed. Compounds firmly identified from this pilot study include nicotine, myristic acid (known to be hallucinogenic), borneol and other forms of camphor. Also identified were vanillin, quinoline and cocaine introduced to Europe fromSouth America. Residues of <I>Cannabis</I> are suggested but not proven. It is not assumed that any of the pipes were necessarily used by Shakespeare, but the results support the view that at least one hallucinogen was accessible to him and other writers in the 17th century.

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