The Archaeology of Smoking and Tobacco

Georgia L. Fox

Foreword by Michael S. Nassaney
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"Fox provides important insights that will help historical archaeologists interpret tobacco-related finds and understand the multiple meanings of a commodity that has burned through the social, political, and economic fabric of the modern world."--Frederick H. Smith, author of The Archaeology of Alcohol and Drinking

"Few artifacts illustrate the American experience as clearly as tobacco. Fox examines how tobacco and smoking reveal broader social life across the face of the planet over a half-millennium."--Paul Mullins, author of The Archaeology of Consumer Culture


Smoking pipes are among the most commonly found artifacts at North American archaeological sites, affirming the prevalence and longevity of smoking as a cultural practice. Yet surprisingly this is the first study in historical archaeology to broadly interpret tobacco and smoking-related activities along with the clues they give about past societies.

In The Archaeology of Smoking and Tobacco, Georgia Fox analyzes the archaeological record to survey the discovery, production, consumption, and trade of this once staple crop. She also examines how tobacco use has influenced the evolution of an American cultural identity, including perceptions of glamour, individuality, patriotism, class, gender, ethnicity, and worldliness.

Employing material culture found throughout North America and the Caribbean, Fox considers the ways in which Native Americans, enslaved Africans, the working class, the Irish, and women used tobacco. Her own research in Port Royal, Jamaica--an important New World hub in the British-colonial tobacco network--provides a fascinating case study to investigate the consumption of luxury goods in the pre-industrial era and the role tobacco played in an emerging capitalist world system and global economy.

Georgia L. Fox is professor of anthropology at California State University, Chico.
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An engaging study of Americans’ perceptions of themselves.-- American Archaeology

A well-written and accessible summary of 300 years of tobacco smoking in the Americas from an archaeological perspective. It is filled with numerous interesting examples and is peppered with just enough archaeological theory and method.-- American Anthropologist

The first study in historical archaeology to broadly interpret tobacco and smoking-related activities along with the clues they give about past societies.-- Anthropology Book Forum

Extraordinarily, the first study in historical archaeology that attempts an overview of tobacco and smoking-related activities. . . . The book will be of value not only to archaeologists but also to anyone interested in the mutually dependent history of this loathsome weed and world capitalism.-- Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Fox has couched the American evolution of tobacco consumption within a global narrative. . . . Her nuanced approach to the multifaceted history of smoking pipes and tobacco consumption successfully demonstrates that smoking pipes have far more to contribute to archaeological understandings of the American experience than previously assumed. . . . Well suited for scholars and the general public alike.-- Anthropology News

Persuasively demonstrate[es] tobacco’s role in nearly every major shift in American life. . . . Fascinating book. Current World Archaeology

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