Tara E. Jones: student co-author.

Document Type


Publication Date



Earth Sciences



Publication Title

Quarterly Bulletin of the Archeological Society of Virginia


The Davis Site ( 44LA46) is a multicomponent (colonial and prehistoric) site located on the Eastern Branch of the Corrotoman River in Lancaster County, Virginia. Plowzone surface collections include a few terra cotta tobacco pipe bowls and stem fragments. This colonial component has been dated to 1650--1718 (mean date: 1684). The site is located 120 m (400 ft) from a clay outcrop of the Late Pleistocene Sedgefield Member of the Tabb Formation. This formation outcrops extensively in the tidewater region of Virginia. The goal of the study was to determine if this formation was a viable clay source for manufacturing terracotta pipes found at this or other Chesapeake sites. To address this question, two geological analyses were performed on the raw clay, terracotta pipes, as well as one of the more common white pipes, presumably imported from England. Their mineralogical compositions were compared using X-ray diffraction and their elemental compositions were compared using energy dispersive-scanning electron microscopy. Results indicate the mineralogical composition of the clay is fundamentally different from the pipes due to firing which altered the minerals, and indicates a firing temperature between 550 °C and 950 °C. The elemental composition of the clay is more similar to the terracotta pipes than the white pipe. Thus, the Sedgefield Member of the Tabb Formation was a viable clay source for terracotta pipes in the area.


This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit The Archeological Society of Virginia's Website.