Pipestem dating archaeology

When we study a site, we also study the documents associated with the site.

For Historical archeologists, ceramics are a diagnostic tool for dating because many English ceramic types can be dated to within 5 or so years of their manufacture.

The methods used by archaeologists to gather data can be applied to any time period, including the very recent past. This “garbology” project proved that even recent artifacts can reveal a lot about the people who used and discarded them.

Although an object may have a known manufacturing date, this does not mean that the object was used when it was made. A hand-me-down set of dishes you inherited when you went to college?

A known manufacturing date tells us that the site cannot be older than the object, but that doesn’t mean that the site is not a lot younger. The presence of these things can throw off the mean ceramic date. In an ideal world, every deposit would contain a dated penny.

This archival research may take the archaeologist to public or university libraries, the local historical society or courthouse—or even into people’s homes!

Primary historical documents that archaeologists may consult before beginning their field research include: maps and/or photographs of the area, newspapers, land and tax records, and diaries and letters.

Dates allow archeologists to connect a site/deposit to a specific time period, allowing us a better understanding of the past.

Historical archeologists have an advantage when it comes to dating because of the written historical record.

One of the easiest ways to determine the diameter of a pipe stem is to use drill bits.

By seeing which drill bit the pipe stems fits on top of, you can determine the diameter of the pipe stem. Better access to tobacco meant a person could smoke more tobacco, meaning bigger bowls to hold the extra tobacco. A longer stem would have kept the bowl (and heat) further from the mouth.

Over the past 150 years archaeologists have developed many effective methods and techniques for studying the past.

Archaeologists also rely upon methods from other fields such as history, botany, geology, and soil science.

The size and shape of the bowl changed over time, making it a useful tool for dating. Harrington, who worked at Jamestown, looked at bowls that still had part or all of the pipe stem attached.

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