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8.10 The Clay Pipes by Susanne Atkin

8.10.1 Introduction

This report includes clay pipes (93 stems and 16 bowls and bowl fragments) from the 1994 excavation only. The material included Dutch decorated stems and bowls. The datable material ranged from the first half of the 17th century to the 19th century.

8.10.2 Bowl typology

At the present time, no pipemakers are known in Aberdeen during the 17th or 18th centuries through documentary sources or archaeological evidence. There is no evidence for pipemaking in the city earlier than the 19th century, and it is therefore not possible to compile a bowl typology of 17th- or 18th-century date for Aberdeen. A small number of plain 17th-century bowls (1640-80) occur on some sites and provided evidence for smoking, but their origins are unknown. If pipes were being made in Aberdeen, they would surely be found in greater quantities. Even by the later 17th/early 18th century, when a local industry might have been expected to occur, there is no evidence of local manufacture. Bowls of this date are recognizable by their larger size, and are often marked with the maker's initials and/or a design on the base. There is a noticeable gap in the bowl types until the 19th century, but whether this is due to a decline in smoking or a change in rubbish disposal methods is unclear. It is probably not sufficient to explain the absence of later 18th-century bowls, by assuming that smokers adopted the habit of taking snuff, in preference to smoking tobacco in a pipe.

8.10.3 Dutch pipes

A feature consistently found on Aberdeen sites is the quantity of Dutch stems and bowls of 17th- to early 18th-century date. Burnished stems were generally ascribed to Dutch manufacture, although it should be noted that burnished pipes were being produced in Glasgow and Tranent during this period, so the Dutch attribution is probably not entirely safe. Bowls with 'roses' (in dots or dots/sepals) on the sides of the bowls, or with makers' marks on the bases are 'common' types not only in Aberdeen, but from several sites throughout Scotland.


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