So what does Harrington’s graph say about the age of the pipe stem I found?
Well, I cannot duplicate his work precisely with that stem fragment because I give it to the preserve administrators before I’d learned enough about his dating process to turn to my drill bits and see which one fit.
The graph can be read as follows: in the 1650 – 1680 time range (second from the bottom), Harrington found that 57% of the holes were 7/64ths of an inch wide, another 25% were 8/64ths of an inch wide, and the remaining 18% were 6/64ths of an inch wide.
Were the average bore hole size of a cluster of fragments from an undated site to fall somewhere within these sizes, it was a good bet the site was probably from the 1650 – 1680 time period.
Given that, I turned to Harrington’s graph and saw that the time period in which the majority (59%) of bore holes are 8/64ths inch in diameter is 1620 – 1650.
In the next youngest time period (1650 – 1680), only 25% are 8/64ths of an inch. Only that this pipe stem probably dates from the 1600s, and possibly from the first half of that century. Andy: Broken bits of pipe, you know, that people used to .
The first preserve we visited was alive with birds even at midday.
Despite my clear limitations, in time I saw 14 different bird species including an Eastern Wood-Pewee, a Great Crested Flycatcher, and a Least Tern.
The opening scene of the first episode of actor and author Mackenzie Crook’s comedy TV series Detectorists is set in a plowed field somewhere in Essex, England. (Some context here: What he’s found is typically called here in the States a “pop tab” or “pull tab” or, as Jimmy Buffett styled it, “Stepped on a pop top. Had to cruise on back home.” Tizer is a British red-colored, citrus soda.) Andy: What do you do with ’em? A friend, who is a birding authority, was visiting, so my wife and I ventured out with her to several of the nature preserves that dot the North Fork.
Our heroes Andy and Lance are working the field with metal detectors, rhythmically swinging them back and forth while listening through headphones for telltale pings signaling metal in the ground. They vary greatly in quality but the impulse behind them is praise worthy.
And of course their range is much broader than the decade, or decade and a half, during which pop tops were torn from soda cans and discarded like so many cigarette butts. I wasn’t picking up cigarette butts, I was bird watching.