Granby Dig Pipe Stems


We love the pipe stems but those date ranges we have been referring to (in bold below) are a simplification of a large data set (maybe made up of tens of thousands of pipe stem finds). It turns out that pipe stems were gradually made longer over time. To keep strength in the stem, the stem's bore hole was also made smaller over time thus allowing us, today, to estimate the age of a pipe stem based on this bore measurement. Unfortunately, it's not a perfect measurement-to-date formula. This makes it controversial but, if you look at the original data and your own collection sample, it can tell you a lot. In our case, we only have 3 sizes and that really lets you narrow it down.
 
The following is based on the first 53 non-split pipe stems that were found in the Granby dig.

Here's the original data from the Harrington histograms (Harrington 1954-64):
 
6/64" bore hole (1 of our 25 stems are this size). The simplified range is 1680-1720. Here are the facts:
   100% of these were made between 1650-1750.
      69% of these were made between 1680-1710
      17% of these were made between 1650-1680
      14% of these were made between 1710-1750
 
5/64" bore hole (22 of our 25 stems are this size). The simplified range is 1720-1750. Here are the facts:
   100% of these were made between 1710-1800.
      86% of these were made between 1750-1800
      14% of these were made between 1710-1750
       
4/64" bore hole (2 of our 25 stems are this size). The simplified range is 1750-1800. Here are the facts:
   100% of these were made between 1680-1800.
      69% of these were made between 1710-1750
      19% of these were made between 1750-1800
      12% of these were made between 1680-1710
 
So, what does this mean for the Granby dig? First of all, none of our pipes can be older than 1650 nor newer than 1800. That doesn't narrow it down much but a discovery made in pit 85 (put into context with other finds) will help us.

80% of our pipe stems have the 5/64" bore hole which is generalized to the date range 1720-1750. The town of Granby did not form until after the death of Indian Trader Thomas Brown in 1747. Brown's Congaree River land went from about 200 feet North of the Granby dig site to 600 feet south of the dig site. So, Thomas Brown may have lived on our Granby site and, in fact, we have found two early 18th century Jews Harps which were Brown's top item of trade. With one of the harps was a 5/64" pipe stem.

We got a major break in pit 85 with the discovery of a large piece of a pipe bowl and stem (see picture below). Maker marks on the item date it to 1740 to 1760. The pipe stem on this was also 5/64" so that generalizes the range to something more like 1740 to 1750. When Brown died in 1747, his land was, eventually, acquired by Martin Friday who started his Ferry at that northern boundary of Brown's property. It probably took a few years for Granby to start forming so it's probably safe to assume that these 5/64" pipe stems came from Thomas Brown. The post holes we have found in the dig may be from a structure of Brown's because the Johnston house (which we have found in the dig) was built in 1790 when Granby buildings had brick foundations and not posts. This can be seen in the only surviving Granby building (also built in 1790) at the Lexington County Museum.

The Johnston family lived in Granby from 1791 to 1815. Since we know that none of the pipes can be from after 1800, it seems that the Johnston family were not pipe smokers.

The 16% of pipes we have found from the generalized period of 1750 to 1800, are then probably from the time after Brown's death and when the Johnston family came in 1791.

The bottom line is that, thanks to these pipe finds, we now know that our dig site is on top of Brown's site (1730-1747) and the Johnston home site (1791-1815).

An interesting side-note: We have found 5 bowl base and stems after 96 pits. Pipe stems pieces are about 1 inch in length which is about the minimum length human fingers can snap off. If you do the math, 96 pipe stems found in 96 pits and 5 bowl bases found, that would make the length of each pipe, about 18 inches long. Pipes from that period had an average length of 16 inches.

Below are images of the maker marks (on that Pit 85 pipe we found) that help us get a good date on the pipe.



Our Pipe Stems (click on a link to see a picture of the particular pipe stem):

 Pit  Level Count   Date

  3     3     1   1720-1750
  5     3     1   1720-1750
  6     3     1   1720-1750 : Decorated
  9     3     1   1720-1750
 13    3     1   1720-1750
 14    3     2   1720-1750 : Base of bowl with a heel
 17    2     1   1720-1750 : Unusual brown color
 17    3     2   1720-1750
 18    3     1   1720-1750 : Long stem piece
 21    2     1   1720-1750
 21    3     1   1720-1750
 22    3     1   1720-1750 : Painted and burned
 24    3     1   1680-1720 : Long stem piece
 24    3     1   1720-1750
 26    2     1   1720-1750
 27    3     1   1720-1750 : Ridged
 27    3     1   1750-1800
 28    3     1   1720-1750
 29    1     1   1720-1750 : Decorated
 29    3     3   1720-1750
 30    3     1   1750-1800
 32    3     1   1720-1750 : Burned
 33    3     1   Split-Stem
 34    2     1   1720-1750
 36    3     1   1720-1750
 37    2     1   1720-1750
 38    2     1   Split-Stem
 38    3     1   1720-1750 : Decorated and Maker name: GUDA
 40    3     1   1750-1800
 41    2     1   1720-1750 : Decorated
 41    3     2   1720-1750
 43    2     1   Split-Stem
 43    3     2   1720-1750 : Long stem piece
 45    4     1   1720-1750 : Base of bowl
 47    3     1   1750-1800
 49    2     2   1720-1750 : Long stem piece
 49    3     1   1750-1800
 50    2     2   1750-1800 : Base of bowl
 50    3     1   Split-Stem
 51    2     1   1680-1720
 52    2     1   1720-1750
 53    2     2   1720-1750 : Base of bowl
 58    3     1   Split-Stem
 59    2     1   1750-1800 : Mouth piece
 60    2     1   1680-1720
 60    3     1   1680-1720
 62    2     2   Split-Stem
 62    2     1   1720-1750
 62    3     1   1720-1750
 63    2     1   1720-1750 : Possible mouth piece
 64    3     1   Split-Stem
 66    2     1   1720-1750
 67    2     1   Split-Stem
 67    3     2   1720-1750
 69    3     1   1720-1750
 70    1     1   1750-1800
 70    3     1   Split-Stem
 72    2     1   1750-1800 : Black stem (burned?)
 73    1     1   1720-1750
 73    3     1   Split-Stem
 73    3     2   1720-1750 : Slightly burned
 74    2     1   1720-1750
 75    1     1   1750-1780
 76    2     2   1720-1750
 85    1     3   1750-1800
 85    1     3   Split-Stem
 85    2     7   1720-1750 : Half-bowl Gouda 1740-1750, and another base of bowl.
 87    2     1   1720-1750
 87    3     1   Split-Stem
 87    3     1   1720-1750
 89    2     1   Split-Stem
 89    3     1   Split-Stem
 92    1     1   1720-1750
 94    1     1   1720-1750
 94    3     1   1720-1750
 95    3     1   Split-Stem
 97    3     1   1720-1750
 100   1     1   Split-Stem
 100   2     1   1720-1750 : Base of bowl
 100   3     1   Split-Stem

Total       102 stems

Breakdown:

1680-1720:
4 stems: 5% - Average level found: 2.50

1720-1750:
64 stems: 79% - Average level found: 2.42

1750-1800:
13 stems: 16% - Average level found: 2.00

Level analysis
Level Age Number
1 1680-1720 0
2 1680-1720 2
3 1680-1720 2
1 1720-1750 9
2 1720-1750 20
3 1720-1750 34
4 1720-1750 1
1 1750-1800 5
2 1750-1800 4
3 1750-1800 5
1 Split-Stem 4
2 Split-Stem 6
3 Split-Stem 10

Average level for 1680-1720: 2.50
Average level for 1720-1750: 2.42
Average level for 1750-1800: 2.00
Average level for Split-stems: 2.30