I present five pre-historic pipes, among the oldest in this World, presumably from the Inca period. They were found by the German geologist Carl Haenel, in 1940, during his first trip of research under the gravel of the Grande da Mata river and its tributaries on the border between the states of Minas Gerais and Goias. They are heads of pipes, made from burned clay, others from stone, one of which is at least 2 thousand years old, according to Haenel.

The great importance of these pieces is that they are possibly among the oldest pipes in this world, proof of the existence of pre-historic civilizations in the region. According to the same geologist, the uncommon in this case is not only that the indigenous people were devoted in those days to the pleasure of smoking, but the fact that after starting with extremely primitive pieces, they gradually developed over the centuries a singular form of art, a carving technique, that can be seen on one of the pipes.
Declarations of the scientist on his discovery are registered in an interview he gave the 16th of November of the same year, 1940, to a Rio de Janeiro newspaper of those days, by the name of Meio Dia (Noon): "The five oldest pipes of this world - it's 2000 years by now that people smoke in Brazil - are positive indications of a pre-historic civilization in our country," The clipping is kept together with the respective pieces.

Eighteen years later (the 18th of September of 1958), the newspaper O Diario of the city of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, reproduces part of this interview in a two page report with the photos of the five pieces ("2000 years: the oldest pipes in this world - an archeological discovery of greatest importance") unveils that the pipes are presently in possession of the painter Délio Delpino in the town of Ouro Preto. The pipes supposedly were bequeathed by the geologist to a son, who passed them on to a resident of Ouro Preto and were bought by Mr.Délio. They are to this date in the same hardboard box with the inscription "Carl Haenel-Baratender Berbingenieur Consulting Mining Engineer", with a clarifying text on the inside of the lid, handwritten in German by the geologist Carl Haenel himself.

"Pre-historic findings of the Inca period, found during my first trip to research under gravel of the Grande da Mata river and its affluents. It concerns (heads of) pipes of burned clay; their age was estimated to be 3000 to 4000 years by archeologists. What is unusual in this case is not only that in those early days the natives already enjoyed the pleasure of smoking, but before all, starting in the most primitive form (see photo # 1 ) they developed a singular technique of art, as shown by the engraving on the last pipe (see photo # 5)"

In spite of their undeniable value, the five pipes remained completely forgotten during 67 years since their discovery. Presently they are in possession of Mr. Luiz Otávio Longo, who inherited them from his father, Salvador Longo, a citizen from the State of Minas Gerais) of the city of Belo Horizonte.



If you have further interest please contact Luiz Gondim at
Reprinted with permission

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