Dating clay smoking pipes

Posted by / 11-Nov-2016 16:03

Dating clay smoking pipes

Among them was Sir Walter Ralegh's protege, Thomas Harriot, who on his return to England, wrote: We ourselves during the time were there used to suck it after their maner, as also since our returne, & have found maine rare and wonderful experiments of the vertues thereof ..use of it by so maine of late, men & women of great calling as else, and some learned Phisitions also, is sufficient witnes.

Harriot described the Indians' practice of "sucking it through pipes made of claie into their stomacke and heade; from which it purges superfluous steame & other grosse humors." Like so much else in historical lore, the encyclopedia and the Reverend Hume were wrong.

In that year a clergyman named Hume, no relation to me, began an essay on the topic by saying that "very small pipes are found all over these islands, which are known in Ireland as Fairy pipes or Danes' pipes." The pragmatic cleric was quick to add that "the Irish attribute any thing unusually small to the fairies, and anything very ancient or inexplicable to the Danes." Nevertheless, it was true that the most ancient of pipes were, indeed, very small. Conventional wisdom - at least that to be found in the pages of the Encyclopaedia Britannica - credits the introduction of the tobacco pipe to Europe to "Ralph Lane, first governor of Virginia, who in 1586 brought an Indian pipe to Sir Walter Raleigh and taught the courtier how to use it." The Reverend Hume thought so, too, asserting that the use of American tobacco began in England around 1585.But just as few of us give much thought to what later generations might deduce from our discarded bottle caps, no one in the eighteenth century considered how a twenty-first-century archaeologist might use his broken pipe as a clue to his life and time. The characteristics of tobacco pipes changed with the years, and if an archaeologist can date those changes, so can he date the objects with which they are are found.There are thousands of pipe fragments found in Williamsburg.In truth, Victorian-era archaeologists had no interest in anything from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.Nevertheless, antiquaries like the Reverend Hume picked up pipe bowls in their gardens and wondered how old they were and why they differed in shape.

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At that time Moravian potters at Bethabara were making clay pipe bowls in designs that included the feather-capped human heads that might or might not have been intended to resemble Indians.