Slate Pencil

(17th Century)

This slate pencil, measuring only 3.2 centimeters in length and 0.7 cm in diameter at the base, was uncovered in the archaeological assemblage beneath the Lovelace Tavern (1670-1706), established next to the Stadt Huys building by the second governor of New York. Likely imported from Wales or England, sites of major slate deposits, this pencil may have been carved with a knife into its current shape, and would have probably been tied by a string to a portable, reusable slate tablet. It could have served a number of purposes depending on the person who may have used it, among them the draftsman sketching the tavern to be, the master carpenter who built the Tavern, or the tavern keeper taking inventory in the basement once the Tavern was built. In each of its possible functions, the pencil contributes to our understanding of writing and literacy in 17th-century New York City.


  • Object number


  • Date made

    17th Century

  • Dimensions

    Length 3.2 cm

    Diameter 0.75 cm

  • Color


  • Animals/objects


  • Category


  • Class


  • Material


Stadt Huys Block


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