From 1620 to 1800, the bore of a European pipe shrank 1/64 of an inch roughly every 30 to 40 years.By tallying the pipe bore diameter frequencies on a site, archaeologists can calculate a series of date ranges to determine the approximate age of a site and the length of time it was occupied.White ball clay pipe stems have become one of the most ubiquitous artifact types found in British colonial sites.Occurring in large numbers across historic settlements in Virginia, their use and discard can be compared to that of the modern cigarette butt.
In either case, this artifact is the earliest known physical evidence for European contact in Samoa.
The kaolin tobacco pipe is one of the most useful artifacts that might be encountered at historical archaeological sites, for their short use-life and easily recognizable stylistic evolution provide valuable dating cues (Nol Hume 1969; Oswald 1951).
Clay pipes were first developed in the early 17th century and were in use into the late 19th century.
Because most historical archaeologists can locate a copy of Nol Humes Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America (192, figure 97) within arms reach, this is the most frequently used though admittedly simplified bowl typology.
We ask that if you have a nearly complete bowl from which a type can be determined, to use the Oswald 1975 typology, but there is also a field to record reference to another typology, should you prefer. The Archaeology of the Clay Tobacco Pipe, edited by Peter Davey, BAR International Series, 13 volumes 1979-1994.