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So I worked from the crude measurements I had taken. The 3.3 mm hole diameter shown in the picture above is slightly less than 0.13 inches. 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. 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.
Lance carefully puts the ring pull into a plastic baggie. Not much of a vacation actually as I was trying to cope with nasty back issues that kept me from looking much above eye-level without excruciating pain.I make the not unreasonable leap that a drill bit of 8/64ths inch size (or 1/8ths inch) would have fit nicely into that bore hole but not any other drill bit sizes (the rest too big or too little). The numbers bear me out: 3.3 mm is slightly less than 0.13 inches; 8/64ths inch is 0.125 inches. Harrington, I have to believe, decided early on that calipers wouldn’t do the trick to measure the hole diameters, nor would trying to rest a ruler across the uneven surface of either end of a fragment. Harrington cautions against using his graph for a single specimen unless one is using common sense and making only rough estimates about the age of the specimen. Wondering what to use, he cast his eyes about his lab (workshop? As he wrote, The cost of drill bits has risen markedly since the early 1950s. Certainly, it would be foolhardy to use a single specimen to date a site. But that one’s early 18th, maybe late 17th century.