In either case, this artifact is the earliest known physical evidence for European contact in Samoa.
The Archaeological Newsletter (London), 3(10):154-159.
During that period there were few sources for Samoans to obtain imported kaolin tobacco pipes.
They might have been acquired either from the French who landed at A’asu in 1797, or they might have been obtained from itinerant whalers, who were known to frequent the coast prior to extensive contact with European missionaries after 1840. The Art and Archaeology of Clay Tobacco Pipes, Release A (CD-ROM).
Bowls and stems might be decorated with pictures or the maker’s or user’s initials, which could possibly be identified.
Archaeologists often use drill bits to measure the diameter of pipe stem holes.It is a small fragment of the upper wall and rim of the bowl mouth. The fragment incorporates a design motif consisting of upturned flames (that would have originated lower on the bowl), and a decorative band around the rim. Because the fragment is small, there is some ambiguity in the type. A mold seam is present indicating that this piece comes from the back of the bowl (closest to the stem). Decorative molded pipe bowls like these became common after 1730 and were evolving into more elaborate forms after 1820. Though less likely, the steepness of the rear wall suggests that it might also be of several other types (10-14) that were in use between 17. Following Oswald (1975), the morphology of this bowl fragment is suggestive of Type 13 (Thin, short bowls, flared mouth…flat spurs which after c. If the former match is correct, then the presences of a seam makes it likely that the pipe fragment was manufactured between 17. The design motif is also consistent with this period, matching Coleman’s (1999) “typical Napoleonic period designs” (1790-1820).