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400-year-old personalized smoking pipes found at Jamestown

Fragments of 400-year-old smoking pipes, bearing what may be the earliest printing in English America, have been found in Jamestown, Virginia.

Stamped with the names of Sir Walter Raleigh and other eminent men back in England, the pipes may have been intended to impress investors—underscoring Jamestown’s fundamentally commercial nature.

“Finding these pipes has illuminated the complex political and social network inLondon that was behind the settlement,” said William Kelso, director of archaeology for Historic Jamestowne, a public-private partnership that works to preserve and interpret the settlement site.

The personalized clay pipes, which archaeologists say were probably made between 1608 and 1610, also provide new insights into Jamestown’s early pipemaking industry.

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