SA foren­sics sug­gests Shake­speare smoked weed

CityPress - - News - – Staff re­porter

Foren­sic tech­nol­ogy from South Africa has been used to get to the bot­tom of what was smoked in to­bacco pipes in Wil­liam Shake­speare’s gar­den in the English town of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Bri­tain’s In­de­pen­dent news­pa­per re­ported that residue from clay to­bacco pipes more than 400 years old, found in his gar­den, was an­a­lysed in Pre­to­ria us­ing a tech­nique called gas chro­matog­ra­phy mass spec­trom­e­try.

Chem­i­cals from the pipe bowls and stems showed that, although many peo­ple in the 17th cen­tury smoked coca leaves – the raw ma­te­rial of co­caine – those in Shake­speare’s gar­den weren’t used to smoke these. How­ever, four of the pipes were used to smoke dagga.

Shake­speare might have known about the neg­a­tive ef­fects of coca and pre­ferred dagga.

Re­searchers base these as­ser­tions on some of his works. The In­de­pen­dent said that, in Son­net 76, The Bard writes about “in­ven­tion in a noted weed”, which could be in­ter­preted to mean he was will­ing to use “weed” for cre­ative writ­ing.

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