The skill and experience of the individual undertaking the work will play a large part in determining how accurate and reliable any assessment of dating is, and specialist advice should certainly be taken when dealing with large assemblages or those where the pipe dating is fundamental to the excavated deposits.
Stems were straight until the late eighteenth century when curved varieties were introduced.
Milled bands of decoration were still occasionally used at the start of this period but maker’s stamps become more common.
Pipes at this period generally had medium length straight stems (never curved) that were quite thick at the bowl junction.
As a result, fragments usually show a clear taper along their length and can be quite chunky if the fragment comes from near the bowl.
Stem bores were generally large at this period and so normally range from about 9/65” to 7/64”, with a few pieces of 6/64”.
Some pipes were burnished during this period and many areas of the Midlands and northern England exploited local clays, where these were available.Initials or full name marks placed across the top of the stem were most frequently employed in central southern England and the West Midlands, while decorative stem borders were most often employed in the Midlands and north.Long line name and place stamps orientated along the top of the stem were used in the North West region during the late eighteenth century.Based on Harrington's table, when does this distribution suggest that Verysignificantsite was mosth eavily occupied?he dating of a pipe fragment relies on assessing a whole range of variables to do with its fabric, manufacturing techniques, bowl form, style, finish, marks and decoration.The clay pipe industry expanded rapidly as tobacco smoking gained popularity in both England and America. Harrington studied the thousands of pipe stems excavated at Jamestown and other colonial Virginia sites, noticing a definite relationship between the diameter of the pipe stem bore—or hole—and the age of the pipe of which it had been part.