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Pieces of pipe-stem are easy to pick up in certain areas, complete bowls less so ..but spend enough time on the first type of mud featured earlier and you may even extract a perfectly preserved bowl with a few inches of stem!

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I’m working through my obsession partly by writing about it .. But at least I’ve completed this very practical guide and deposited it as the first entry in a new folder Thames Foreshore in the main menu strip.

The guide even includes an illustrated list of the different kinds of mud, which in its seriousness may be amusing to some!

The Dutch city of Gouda was a major production centre and remains of pipes produced there can be found all over the world.

Because these items are rather fragile a lot of it was thrown away by our ancestors.

This database is part of a major project being undertaken by to create a physical and digital archive of clay pipe makers’ marks from London excavations, including both pipes made in the capital and imported from further afield.

The first stage of this project focuses on stamped makers’ marks dating to between c 15.

Not the highly decorated and (almost) complete museum pieces, but broken and degraded fragments.

This shows how difficult it can be (for a non-expert like me) to identify the marks on the fragments.

but many of those, especially the larger and more weirdly shaped nodules, could have just as likely been shipped in along with the chalk.

For most visitors the fragments of clay tobacco pipe are the most memorable novelties, and a trademark of the Thames foreshore.

Information about the claypipe makers marks has been extracted from the digital version of 'Goudse pijpenmakers en hun merken' (see: next item).

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