Étudiante-chercheure étoile August 2012

Françoise Duguay

PhD student in Archeology
Université Laval

Award-winning publication: Clay Pipes in New France, 1620-1760: Can Archaeometry be Helpful in Detecting Imitations?

Published in: Newsletter of the Society for Clay Pipe Research, vol. 81 (2012), Liverpool, UK: 18-28


"Our production presents a comparative analysis of 17th- and 18th-century clay tobacco pipes by neutron activation, using artifacts of unknown origin and reference samples of known origin. This research also allowed us to begin creating a database of the chemical components of pipes. The countries under study were France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This work could have applications in the fields of material culture, archaeology (archaeometry) and nuclear engineering."


The use of neutron activation allowed us to take quantitative measurements that make it possible to isolate the components of the clay used to make the pipes. In comparing artifacts from Trois-Rivières with samples collected in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, we find that some pipes identified as being of Dutch origin could in fact have originated in the North of France. The study emphasizes that simple observation of the macroscopic characteristics, such as the style of the bowl or the diameter of the shank, is not a reliable identification tool. The use of standardized measurement, such as neutron activation analysis, can address this issue by establishing points of comparison with reference measurements. Using both approaches, descriptive and analytical, could help refine the identification of certain archaeological specimens.