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06-Jan-2020 19:06

There are always exceptions but, in broad terms, stems can usually be allocated to one of three general date ranges by assessing their form, stem bore, fabric and finish.Note that stem bores are still recorded in 64ths of an inch, so as to allow them to be compared with previous records and for the data to be used with stem bore dating techniques developed in the USA (see ‘stem bores’ below).This can be very useful for ‘spot dating’ deposits, or providing a basic record where the assemblage does not warrant a specialist report.Assessing the stems is often a useful first step, since they tend to be the most numerous class of pipe fragment recovered.Stamped marks, now typically orientated along the stem, continued to be used in the West Midlands and North West but died out in other areas in favour of moulded marks.Moulded marks or pattern numbers on the sides of the stem were introduced around the middle of the nineteenth century and became the most widespread and common form of marking thereafter.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.

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Local clays with inclusions were rarely used after about 1710.

Pipes of this period were all made from fine clays without any obvious inclusions and they typically had stem bores of 5/64” to 4/64”.