Maryland – A tobacco pipe was found along the Generals Highway and it can be helpful to know about the African ancestors who had lived the slave life in Anne Arundel. Archaeologists from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration found four more clay tobacco pipe stems in the slave quarter at Belvoir and they sent the pipe stems for DNA test in a lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The pipe stems were tested in the lab and doctors identified a woman’s ancient DNA on one of the stems. But the DNA was degraded enough to prevent any conclusion of linking to living descendants. A doctor at the University of Copenhagen also tested the pipe stems and found that the woman could be related to Mende people living in present day Sierra Leone in West Africa. This is the first time scientists have proved human DNA from a 200 year old tobacco pipe stem and they connected the DNA with the ancient people.
It is a new way to get DNA from archaeological sites that nobody has dreamed of yet. There are several best tobacco pipes available in the market and these clay pipe stems are the part of them. A lot of slaves didn’t have names recorded and now this is a good opportunity to know about their origin and families.
Dr. Ripan Malhi, head of an ancient DNA (aDNA) laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said that they often study human skeletal every time they find one and it is a good opportunity to recover DNA from few hundred years old tobacco pipes.
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