This is the kind of article I'd expect from the Daily Mail. They're sure to carry it soon if they haven't yet, but I saw this over at Fox News: "Did Shakespeare Smoke Weed? Let's Dig Him Up and Find Out." And it's quickly spreading to other news media. Oh jeez.
|"Heh, this is sonnet number 420." - Shakespeare|
|Tooth wear from clay pipe use, 17th|
century America (Credit: Smithsonian)
UPDATE (6/27/11) - * Seems Thackeray was misunderstood by Fox News, and I trusted that Fox had reported the news correctly. Good to know they're actually a worse source of news on this subject than the Daily Mail. Anyway, as Thackeray mentioned to LiveScience today, his plan is to test hair or nails (if found) for evidence that the Bard smoked weed. The part about wear on the teeth was indeed said in reference to pipe smoking, not specifically as a way to link pipe smoking and cannabis smoking. ^ I still think much of forensic archaeology is done for shits and giggles. After Stephanie Pappas asked me about it for her LiveScience piece, I outlined my misgivings about the practice a bit more fully here. Perhaps it's my population bias or my need to toe the line between anthropology and classics, but something makes me root for the little people and get annoyed by the continuous attention being paid to the elite.
J.F. Thackeray, N.J. van der Merwe, & T.A. van der Merwe (2001). Chemical analysis of residues from seventeeth-century clay pipes from Stratford-upon-Avon and environs South African Journal of Science, 97, 19-21.