I do quite often come across unusual things while digging for that yellow stuff.
Australia Day had me sweating like crazy, hot and humid. I set up the river sluice and went to dig some of the cobble layer that we have been working for the last few trips. Two buckets of dirt and I was soaked with sweat, felt like I had just stepped out of the shower. There is always room for a little more in the bucket, no matter how full the bucket is. So grabbing two loose lumps of dirt, the first went into the bucket….. The second made me stop and look. From the angle I was looking at, my first thought was it’s dog poo. It was off white, like bleached dog poo, that’s been in the Sun. Pointy on one end……
It was half way over my shoulder before I pulled up, on it’s way to “Deep Creek” forever. Something stopped my arm in mid flight. I looked again…. I turned it over….. It was hollow on the other end. It was a clay pipe bowl.
Shock, surprise, a little excitement…. well a lot of excitement. Zero buckets of dirt through the sluice and a really great find.
Notice the shield on the bowl. For sure a makers mark…. something easy to put a date on…. come on 1800’s, yeah.
After some fruitless searching on “Google” learning nothing useful, I asked friends. More precisely another WordPress blogger, “Brisbane Digger”( brisbanedigger.wordpress.com ). Strangely my bottle digging friend had no idea of any info on clay pipes, I thought for sure that would have paid off with quality information. Back to the mighty “Google”.
There is a site run by U.S. Parks and Wildlife on how to identify and date clay pipes. That did not help me at this time. Obviously there are a lot of clay pipes in the U.S. found everywhere??? I don’t know.
I found a site in the U.K., run by a lady, who makes replicas, for period reenactors, movies and television series. Heather Coleman, was a wealth of information and photos.
So that is the pipe I found, lightly cleaned, to show detail. Pictures went to email@example.com. Along with some hastily blurted questions. I shall repeat Heathers reply, it was everything I hoped for, could not have been better.
The pipe bowl you have found I would normally date between about 1865 and 1925, a tighter time frame might be about 1880-1910.
I think the origin for this one would be either English or Scottish manufacture. It was likely a short pipe of about 5 inches long with a straight stem and ideal to hold in the mouth while smoking and working hands-free. So it could well fit in with the workings there but might not be at the time of arrival but during the time when digging was going on I would say yes.
The shield symbolism is common on pipes from England and the shields with cross-hatching like this come in several shapes, sometimes shields, sometimes a clover shape, sometimes a heart. They are thought to mean loyalty in working mens groups. Some come with heart and hand symbols which might be connected with Ireland ( the Hand of Ulster symbolism which I think is political ). So your pipe might be Irish. Some pipes for Irish people were made in England and Scotland as you know many Irish emigrated around the world.
The pipe will not date from before 1860. Have attached images of some examples I have seen.
Hope this helps
These are the images Heather sent with her email.
Lots and lots of helpful and useful information.
It was a hot, humid day, wet with sweat, excited and feeling like an archaeologist. I moved plenty of gold bearing material. Then it rained, and rained. Wet with sweat, washed and dripping from the rain, I did my last clean up, and headed home.
A good day digging. Hope someone else finds something great and shares it.
Only in Queensland.