This elaborate brass tobacco tamper dating back to the early seventeenth century is fashioned in the shape of an English gentleman. The tamper would have been used to press tobacco into the bowl of a pipe. It is one of a number of tobacco-related items excavated from early colonial-era Virginia sites. Tobacco was the backbone of the economy and many Virginia planters made large fortunes from the work of white indentured servants, and, even more so, by the labor of enslaved Africans who were kept in lifelong bondage. This tamper was unearthed during excavations at the Flowerdew Hundred plantation, which was established in 1619.
Citation: The Flowerdew Hundred Collection is affiliated with the Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture and the University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, VA