Day of Archaeology – LAARC Lottery Part 2

A big thank you everyone who suggested shelf numbers for our general finds LAARC lottery – we’ve taken the first 6 replies and tweets, and had a rummage around in our shelving, and come up with the following selection of artefacts:

From shelf 1967 we have a large piece of wood, from an unknown object, excavated from the BIG82 site, which amongst other things found the remains of a Roman quay. The proximity of the site close to the Thames allowed for the good preservation of organic remains like wood in the waterlogged soil conditions

Part of wooden object from BIG82 excavation - from shelf 1967

Part of wooden object from BIG82 excavation – from shelf 1967

Next up we have shelf 2019, which produced this piece of medieval pottery from the RAG82 excavation, in the City ofLondon, which resulted in a range of items from Roman, Saxon/Medieval, Medieval and Post Medieval periods

Medieval pottery sherds from RAG82

Medieval pottery sherds from RAG82 – and shelf 2019

Now we move on to shelf 4633, where we found this piece of ceramic building material (CBM) – and which looks to my eye like a part of a stone water pipe or channel (but I’m not an expert on building material so happy to be corrected). It came from site SQU94, the former Spitalfields Market, and may be associated with the Priory and Hospital of St Mary Spital

Stone water channel? from SQU94 and from shelf 4633

Stone water channel? from SQU94 and from shelf 4633

From shelf 23 we had this set of animal bones, from site WFG3, which was dug back in 1947

Animal bone from WFG3

Animal bone from WFG3 – and shelf 23


For shelf 121 we had the ubiquitous post-medieval clay tobacco pipes – these ones from site GM131 – near the Old Bailey

Post-Medieval clay tobacco pipes

Post-Medieval clay tobacco pipes – from shelf 121

Finally, from shelf 291, and nicely related to the above pipes, we have a rather nice example of debris from a clay tobacco pipe kiln – with unfinished bits of pipes stuck in the waste.


Clay tobacco pipe kiln waste from BRE77

Clay tobacco pipe kiln waste from BRE77 – and shelf 291

Next up it’s our Registered finds: objects assigned an individual number (akin to an museum accession number) because they are of particular interest. Coins would be an obvious example. Tweet using #dayofarch or #LAARC, or message us below, a number between 1 and 816 to discover, completely at random, what that shelf holds… – and we’ll post back our results at 1pm



A Day at the Department of Historic Resources

Welcome to the Department of Historic Resources in Richmond, Virginia!  My name is Maura Stephens, and I am an intern here at the DHR.  The Department works alongside many museums and organizations across the state in order to preserve and promote Virginia’s fascinating and important history.  Our facilities include a conservation laboratory and a study collections room.

Our study collections room

This is the DHR's study collections room. Here, visiting researchers can view and study artifacts from our collections.

The artifacts housed in the collections room are just a small sample of what we have.  In our large storage area, we have over 7000 boxes and millions of individual artifacts from archaeological sites all over Virginia.

The DHR storage room

This is just one of dozens of rows in our storage room. Boxes as far as the eye can see!

A typical day for me includes washing artifacts, bagging and labeling them, storing and sorting boxes of artifacts in the storage room, and doing research.  Today specifically, I and a couple of high school volunteers are washing artifacts that were delivered to the DHR earlier this week.  They are from a clay smoking pipe factory that operated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Pamplin, Virginia (44AP01).

Volunteers washing artifacts

Here are two of our volunteers washing artifacts from the clay smoking pipe factory in Pamplin, Virginia.

I have been researching the Pamplin pipe factory this summer, and I have also been designing an exhibit that will be on display in the Department.  We have hundreds of the pipes in many styles and colors in our collections, and I have grown quite fond of them over the past couple of months!

Two Pamplin smoking pipes

Here are two examples of Pamplin smoking pipes. The style of the pipe on the left is called "Ole Virginny Shaker" and the one on the right is an "Akron Hamburg."

As well as washing pipe and sagger fragments with the volunteers, I am sorting washed and dried pipes by style and bagging and labeling them for storage.  I also bag other artifacts from the site, such as brick fragments and glass shards.


I have learned a great deal while working at the DHR this summer, and I look forward to more experiences in the wonderful field of archaeology!