Proteomic and direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry analysis of a Native American ceremonial hat†
Complementary mass spectrometry analyses were performed to study a broken ceremonial hat of the Tlingit in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. The hat base and an associated cylinder are carved from wood and show multiple signs of age and breakage, as well as remnants of animal materials used for construction, decoration, and repair. Samples of animal tissues embedded in and attached to the wood were prepared for liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), which identified proteins from five clades native to the object's area of origin. Surfaces on the hat and cylinder were analyzed using a direct analysis in real time (DART) MS system modified to accommodate the intact items. The presence of nicotine from tobacco smoke on the exterior and the relative absence of nicotine from the underside and formerly covered surfaces indicated that the cylinder was originally connected to the top of the hat. The characterization of the original object will be used to make informed decisions about reproduction of the intact hat for use by the Tlingit Kiks.ádi clan.