The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology

2017 Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture

15 December 2017

The 2017 Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture will take place at the Society of Antiquaries of London on Friday 15 December 2017. Book your ticket here

The speaker will be Dr David Higgins of the National Pipe Archive and the University of Liverpool on: 

Goods for the Colonies: British Tobacco Pipes Made for the Atlantic Trade, c1600–1850

This lecture will look at how British pipe makers at coastal locations responded to the opportunities offered by the Atlantic trade prior to 1850. In particular it will consider the heelless pipes that were made specifically for the export market during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These are well known as Bristol products, but this paper will show that manufacturers from as far apart as London and Glasgow were also attempting to take a share of the transatlantic trade. The regional and chronological evolution of these forms will be discussed, together with areas for future research. This lecture will provide a reference point for this type of pipe that is of relevance to historical archaeologists from Newfoundland to the Caribbean and beyond.

About the Speaker

Dr David Higgins has a long-standing interest in finds, particularly those of the post-medieval period. Having read archaeology at the University of Leicester, he ran the finds department of the Field Archaeology Unit at the University of Liverpool before becoming archaeologist to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Shropshire. David directed a series of excavations in and around the Ironbridge Gorge and wrote his doctoral thesis on the Broseley area pipemaking industry. He was then awarded a Leverhulme grant to start work on a national catalogue of pipe marks that now contains over 32,000 examples. He subsequently returned to Liverpool where he directed the Field Archaeology Unit and worked on various commercial excavations, both in this country and abroad, while at the same time continuing his interest in finds work, particularly in relation to clay tobacco pipes.

Over the years David has served on various committees, including three years as a council member for the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology; as secretary and treasurer for the North West Region Medieval Pottery Research Group and as a council member for the Medieval Pottery Research Group. Since 2004 he has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool and is currently Chair of the Society for Clay Pipe Research, Chair of the National Pipe Archive and general secretary of the Académie Internationale de la Pipe.

Throughout his career, clay tobacco pipes have been David's particular passion and he has over 350 published notes, excavation reports and articles on them to his name. He prepares specialist reports for many of the large archaeological units as well as government bodies, such as Historic England, and has recently prepared new guidelines for them on the recovery and processing of clay pipes from archaeological projects. He is also one of only three people left in the country who still produces clay pipes, with museums, historical sites, film companies and reenactors amongst his customers.

How to Book

The lecture will be held in conjunction with our AGM. The AGM will begin at 5.30pm followed by a wine reception at 6pm, and the lecture will commence at 7pm. Tickets are FREE but limited in number and can be booked through Eventbrite. Voluntary donations to our Community Engagement Fund are very welcome.