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Psychoactive Plants Project

NSF ARCHAEOMETRY: Human Use of Psychoactive Plants in Ancient North America: Experimental Method Development and Applications of Metabolomics Research in Archaeological Residue Analysis

This NSF-Funded project is led by Shannon Tushingham (WSU Anthropology), David Gang (WSU Institute for Biological Chemistry), and Jelmer Eerkens (UC Davis Anthropology), investigates human use of psychoactive smoke and drink plants—both archaeologically and in the present day. The research is conducted in collaboration with Tribal communities in the Plateau, Pacific Northwest Coast, California, and Canada. Our team is involved with the development of innovative methods to identify plant compounds in archaeological pipes and other artifacts. Other accomplishments include identifying tobacco (nicotine) in multiple pipes in Washington State and Idaho, and similar collaborative research with indigenous communities in California and First Nations tribes in British Columbia.