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Back to the Bowl: Using English Tobacco Pipebowls to Calculate Mean Site-Occupation Dates

Abstract

The form of English white ball-clay pipebowls can be used to determine accurate mean dates for historical contexts. Using previously established bowl seriations and typologies on the well-dated material assemblage uncovered at the site of the 1607 James Fort at Jamestown Island, Virginia, a newly developed calculation proves to be a reliable technique of assessing chronology. Determining the pipebowl mean date involves identifying the shape of each bowl, counting the number of examples of each morphological type, and then completing a series of simple arithmetic calculations. The pipebowl-dating device correlates well with other archaeological lines of evidence. On average, pipebowl mean dates are within seven years of mean dates established by other factors. This method regularly outperforms established pipestem-based mean-date measures.

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Mallios, S. Back to the Bowl: Using English Tobacco Pipebowls to Calculate Mean Site-Occupation Dates. Hist Arch 39, 89–104 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03376687

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03376687