how did the vikings smoke?

Viking, Saxon, and Early Christian Irish cultures

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Re: how did the vikings smoke?

Postby nathan » Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:06 pm

im curious really as many people smoke other things to tobacco not just your usual blend of mixed herbs. i was wondering to if clay or wooden pipes had been used of any type but it has been cleared up nicely by the guys on here
thanks to all :D
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Re: how did the vikings smoke?

Postby finnobreanan » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:49 am

Swifty wrote:I have to say no on both counts, firstly there is no archaeological evidence for smoking amongst the vikings. That is asides the possiblity of 'communal smoking' mentioned above. I collect English translations of the Icelandic Sagas (I have 20+) and to the best of my memory there are no references to smoking - plenty of drinking, fighting, wenching etc but no smoking.

As John has said the first pipes would likely have appeared in Ireland c.1600. These pipes were of clay with particularly small bowls - an indication of the scarcity of tobacco at this time - which were shaped tapered at both ends and at a 45 degree angle to the stem. The 'heel' at the base of the bowl was only embryonic at this stage.

Below is a typology of these early clay-pipes from the book 'Marinarkeologi' by the Swedish author Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg:

Hope this helps.

PS It so happens that I collect clay-pipes too...


Once again Swifty, you are totally on the ball (as we say here in America). You have well documented proof of clay tobacco pipes, and as you have observed, the bowls are quite small, which also corresponds with archeological finds in America in the late 1500s and early 1600s. In my museum studies classes, we discussed how to date these pipes, not by the size of the bowl, but by the diameter of the stem (which is a whole topic by itself).

PS: My family owned a house on the Mississippi River since 1857 (not my Irish Side), and I owned it until my divorce in 1997, when I lost it (God Dammned Dower Law!). When I had to do major landscaping work in the back yard due to drainage of water, one of the common items I found was "pipe stems".
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Re: how did the vikings smoke?

Postby Seathrun » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:39 am

finnobreanan wrote:
PS: My family owned a house on the Mississippi River since 1857 (not my Irish Side), and I owned it until my divorce in 1997, when I lost it (God Dammned Dower Law!). When I had to do major landscaping work in the back yard due to drainage of water, one of the common items I found was "pipe stems".



I feel your pain. I lost mine on the Mississippi for the same reason in May. Same deal on it had been in the family. I never should have added her on the refinance.
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Trí labra ata ferr túa: ochán ríg do chath, sreth immais, molad iar lúag.
Three speeches that are better than silence: inciting a king to battle,spreading knowledge, praise after reward.
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Re: how did the Irish smoke?

Postby finnobreanan » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:11 pm

Just a bit of an update on the history of tobacco use, since we can eliminate Vikings smoking. One of my fellow members of the Banner of St. Michael found this link with a timeline, which is very interesting:
http://www.tobacco.org/resources/histor ... ory16.html

Reconstructing History is also selling an Elizabethan clay pipe (I think I cleaned them out), but they are currently out of stock:
http://www.reconstructinghistory.com/pr ... lay-pipe-1
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Re: how did the vikings smoke?

Postby Ulfhundur » Sun May 27, 2012 10:30 pm

I found this thred very intresting and the fact that there is no evadence of smoking any herbs or any other plant. :)
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Re: how did the vikings smoke?

Postby finnobreanan » Mon May 28, 2012 4:05 pm

I realy did clean them out of pipes, they don't list them anymore, but here is another source:
http://www.pipeshoppe.com/ps_p2001.php
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