Museum of Anthropology

Tushingham with colleagues.
Tushingham and Gang with lab manager and collaborator Anna Berim and researchers Zimmermann and Damitio.

Will Damitio (MA 2018) recently unveiled an exhibit at the WSU Museum of Anthropology showcasing research into the antiquity of tobacco use by the indigenous peoples of northwest North America. The research, conducted in collaboration with the Nez Perce Tribe and Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, involved the analysis of chemical residues extracted from some of the oldest known pipes in the region—legacy collections from the Museum of Anthropology—finding that tobacco was used as early as 1,800 years ago. The exhibit brings together some of the National Science Foundation-sponsored projects led by Shannon Tushingham, museum director and associate professor, career track, with David Gang (WSU Institute for Biological Chemistry), which has involved numerous WSU students overseen by Tushingham and former NSF postdoc Mario Zimmermann (PhD 2019). The exhibit is located in the ground floor corridor of College Hall and provides background on Indigenous smoking in the Northwest and on the research as well as displays of some of the stone pipes and pipe fragments tested in the research. This research is based on work supported by NSF grant BCS-1419506.