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Clay Tobacco Pipe

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Artifact Description

Site 35F yielded an individual clay tobacco pipe bowl (H. 4.5cm, max diam. 1.3cm). The lower bowl is broken and the spur further damaged. Rouletted milling made with a piece of braided twine or fine rope is present near the lip of the bowl. The pipe’s color ranges from black to dark green/dark grey, which may not be the original color, but rather the result of heat, staining and discoloration. Marine growth near the bowl lip suggests that the pipe once lay on the wreck’s surface before ending up buried beneath sediments.

Without further distinctive decoration or a recognized maker’s stamp, this pipe type does not have a tight chronological range. Examples with comparable rouletted milling near the lip of the bowl are known from the wrecks of the Swan, lost off Duart Point, Scotland, in 1653, the De Liefde of 1711 recorded off the Out Skerries of northern Scotland, and the Dutch East Indiamen the Adelaar, which foundered off the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, in 1728. The shape of the pipe bowl is seen on an example excavated from the Vergulde Draeck, another Dutch East Indiaman that went down off Western Australia in 1656.

Examples reflecting the same date range are also common across England including samples from a rubbish pit at Crook Street in Chester which display a slightly wider range of c. 1660-90. Exactly the same date is provided by pipes excavated in York, while those from Stamford in Lincolnshire continue to 1710. Smoking pipe heads excavated in Farham have been attributed to c. 1717-45. The latest dated assemblage containing the site 35F pipe type from Whieldon in Stoke-on-Trent provides dates parameters of 1740-50. Thus, a largely southern English distribution and broad chronology spanning the mid-17th to mid-18th century exists for this clay pipe form, albeit with a notable concentration between c. 1660 and 1690.


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