Cigarette Use Among Students and Staff at ISU Dormitories

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Logan Miller

Mentor Department



Archaeology seeks to understand human culture by studying the material remains of the past. Generally, archaeology deals with eras greater than 100 years before the present. Yet, as a discipline of anthropology, the same methods and theories archaeologists apply to the past can be applied to modern contexts. Trash, whether prehistoric or modern, is the most common type of artifact archaeologists encounter, in the form of discarded objects, middens, trash pits, etc. In a modern context, cigarette butts are an extremely prolific artifact. Even in areas like Illinois State University's campus, where smoking is prohibited, cigarette butts are found on the ground. This study was part of a class, and designed to give students an opportunity to learn archaeological methods and theory through hands-on fieldwork. In doing so, the class collected smoking-related artifacts from around all three of Illinois State University's dorms. The resulting data provides insight on student and faculty behavior, including where they prefer to smoke and what types of brands and varieties are the most preferable. Not only does studying cigarette butts and related artifacts inform of current people, but can also provide models to explain past behavior.



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