Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Clay Tobacco Pipes

Some of the most common and exciting finds we get at Rocky Nook are clay tobacco pipe fragments. Typically, we find stems, but sometimes also bowl fragments and sometimes complete bowls! These pipes and fragments can be excellent diagnostic artifacts because style and form changed rather uniformly through time. For example, early pipes have very small bowls and later ones very large ones. Also the diameter of the bore in the stem for drawing the smoke from the bowl changes through time as well, becoming smaller and smaller. Earlier pipes were also shorter in length than the later ones.

Pipe smoking was introduced to England during the reign of Elizabeth I, but it did not become truly trendy until James I tried to ban it. It was not long until pipe smoking was fashionable among all classes, genders, and ages. It was clearly popular in the Howland household. Hundreds of fragments of various bowls and stems have been found on both the John and Joseph sites.

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