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by Archaeology Newsroom

Clay tobacco pipes and narghile excavated at the archaeological site of Hadrian’s Library

Archaeological research to uncover the west wing of the Hadrian Library —destroyed by the Eruls in 267 AD— has produced important information about the use the site was put to not only during the early Christian and the Byzantine age, but also in the years of the Turkish occupation up to the twentieth century, included.

A great number of movable objects of Greek and Turkish everyday life, besides building remnants, have been uncovered in the excavations in the layers of the ruins of the last centuries. Among them dozens of clay parts of narghile or hookah, the so-called tobacco burner, which are delicate, clay works of art and date from the seventeenth century, which was a time of the wide dissemination of tobacco smoking among the peoples of the Ottoman Empire and consequently popular with the Greeks. The peculiarity of form of this tobacco pipe of the East, so strikingly different from its counterpart of the West, from where smoking was introduced to the East, remains a question to be answered. It might be due to the distinctive character of the art of the East and its people. Where it was first made, is still unknown, since the proposed places of origin, Persia or Northern Africa, remain poorly documented . Furthermore, research to locate such workshops in the Helladic area, in spite of its century-long tradition in pottery is still inefficient.