Typically this is accomplished by connecting a refractory 'bowl' to some sort of 'stem' which extends and cools the smoke mixture drawn through the combusting organic mass (see below).
The broad anatomy of a pipe typically comprises mainly the bowl and the stem.
The pipes are fairly fragile and regularly change form over time, which makes them a great dating tool as well as being intrinsically nice objects.
Most of our site staff hadn’t dug up many clay pipes previously, and were mostly unaware of the great dating potential of pipe bowls in post-medieval deposits, as well as the subtle changes in form that indicate each pipe’s date.
By the early part of the 17th century, the clay tobacco pipe industry began to develop in many local centres throughout Britain and in many parts of the Netherlands.
It comprises a chamber (the bowl) for the tobacco from which a thin hollow stem (shank) emerges, ending in a mouthpiece (the bit).
As part of the #100Symposium, we have been trying out different ways of training staff, developing skills, and increasing awareness of the various facets of the archaeology of London.
At the start of site we ran a series of short handling sessions using an assemblage of unstratified clay tobacco pipes we had recovered during the watching brief phase.
As tobacco was not introduced to the Old World until the 16th century, the older pipes outside of the Americas were usually used to smoke hashish, a rare and expensive substance outside areas of the Middle East, Central Asia and India, where it was then produced.
A pipe's fundamental function is to provide a relatively safe, manipulable volume in which to incompletely combust tobacco (and/or other smokable substances) while allowing the smoke drawn from this combustion to cool sufficiently for inhalation by the smoker.
The tobacco plant is native to South America but spread into North America long before Europeans arrived.