by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory
I thought I would start the second day of the new year off with this white clay smoking pipe that was scanned in Jamestown Rediscovery‘s archaeological laboratory on September 9. 2013, which is under the direction of Merry Outlaw, their Curator of Collections. The smoking pipe, with its distinctive stamped design of four fleur-de-lis forming a cross within a diamond, is attributed to Robert Cotton. According to Jamestown’s Senior Archaeological Curator Beverly Straube:
The inclusion of a tobacco pipemaker in the first groups of craftsmen is as enigmatic to researchers today as it apparently was to John Smith when Robert Cotton, “tobacco-pipe-maker,” arrived on the Phoenix in January 1608. No other mention is made of Cotton, so it is not known how long he remained at Jamestown; he is not listed in the muster of 1624-25, so presumably Cotton had either perished or returned to England by then.
Additional information on the tobacco smoking pipes attributed to Robert Cotton can be found in Beverly Straube’s full discussion here. For more on the archaeology of tobacco smoking pipes, you can look at our Virtual Curation Museum gallery located here.