Pipe bore diameter dating
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.
1977 Clay Tobacco-Pipes, with Particular Reference to the Bristol Industry. Also provided are two other TPQ measures, TPQ95 and TPQ90.TPQ95 estimates the date after which the deposit was formed based on the 95th percentile (or 90th for TPQ90) of the beginning manufacturing dates for the sherds from that layer.For more detailed information on the dating methodologies, refer to Barca 2012.Figure 1 presents the dates derived from pipe stem data.Few makers incorporated dates into their marks, though the practice of marking pipes probably initially coincided with the establishment of the London tobacco pipe guild in 1619 and continued into the 19th century (Nol Hume 2003-4).
Archaeologists analyze multiple clues to date and identify the pipe maker including a careful combination of archaeological site context, bowl style and form, pipe stem bore diameter, style and placement of the mark itself, and place of manufacture.
The pipe stem date (using Lewis Binford’s formula) is 1746.67. Creating a Harris Matrix allows archaeologists to put excavation contexts in order from the bottom of the site to the top.
We created a diagram capturing the relationships of the layers (or strata), which was digitized and made available for download on This dating technique can provide a more accurate measure for the date after which a particular layer or phase was formed by calculating the beginning date of manufacture of the latest dating artifact in an assemblage or sub-assemblage.
For this cataloguing system, we suggest using Oswalds (19-42, figure 3G and 4G) Simplified General Typology for attempting to type pipe bowls that are complete enough to match the forms he provides.
While we recommend this reference as the most comprehensive, some archaeologists (including the DAACS initiative) prefer Atkinson and Oswalds (1969:7-12, figure 1 and figure 2) London-derived typology for its detailed approach to 17th-century pipes.
Historical archaeologists date their sites using a variety of methods, each with its strengths and weaknesses.