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Silver Skeleton Seal
This silver seal bears an intricate scene reminding its owner of the short time he had on Earth. A skeleton holds both an hourglass and an arrow, representing the passage of time and the shortness of life. The owner's initials, "LF," are above the hourglass. After pushing it into hot wax, the seal would then have been pressed onto documents in order to seal them.
Examine the Silver Skeleton Seal

"Yames Towne" Lead Tag
This small lead plaque, reading "Yames Towne," is the equivalent of a modern-day luggage tag. The plaque was probably marking some merchandise that had been warehoused in London before being shipped out to Jamestown. . . . This tag was one of the remarkable finds discovered in an early-17th century well just inside the northern bulwark of James Fort in the Summer of 2006.
Examine the "Yames Towne" Lead Tag

Memento Mori Ring
The early 17th-century gold ring depicts a skull with the initials C L and the Latin legend: Memento Mori or "remember thy death." Bly Straube, Historic Jamestown's Senior Curator, speculates that the initials could be attributed to Captain Christopher Lawne who was a member of the first Virginia General Assembly. Straube indicates "The ring would have been very expensive and would have been worn by a person of significant wealth and stature."
Examine the Memento Mori Ring

Wine Bottle with Seal
Archaeologists at Historic Jamestowne recently uncovered a brick-lined cellar filled with 300-year-old intact glass wine bottles. One of the bottles bears a personal seal that may have belonged to a former Virginia governor. Visitors to Historic Jamestowne can see some of the wine bottles at the Dale House exhibit area. The cellar will be available for viewing for a limited time this summer, then it will be refilled with dirt to preserve the site.
Examine the Wine Bottle with Seal

Bartmann Jug
This jug is of the type known as Bartmann or "bearded man" for the bewhiskered face that adorns the neck. Bartmann jugs are also identified in the literature as "Bellarmines," a term popularly believed to be a satiric reference to the much despised Cardinal Robert Bellarmino (1542-1621)....The Bartmann jug was excavated from Pit 1, a ca. 1610 context within the palisaded walls of James Fort.
Examine the Bartmann Jug

Strachey Ring
In the late fall of 1996, excavations in the southeastern bulwark of the James Fort site recovered a brass finger ring finely engraved with the figure of a large bird and with what appears to be a cross on its breast. It is a signet ring commonly used for impressing wax seals on documents. Some of these rings bear the official heraldic crest of their owner's family, an official symbol registered at the College of Arms in London.
Examine the Strachey Ring

Silver Ear Picker
A status symbol and hygienic tool, this ear picker was found at the James Fort site by APVA Preservation Virginia archaeologists and undoubtedly belonged to one of Jamestown's early gentlemen. The ear picker is in the form of a sea creature -- probably a dolphin -- which was a popular image during the adventurous sea explorations in the Age of Discovery.
Examine the Silver Ear Picker

Miniature Windmill
When the archaeologists excavated this object from the cellar of a blockhouse of James Fort, it just looked like a small copper alloy blob. After almost 400 years of being buried in the Virginia soil, the artifact had become completely encased with corrosive products. Conservators spent many hours cleaning the artifact before they could see a little house with a front doorway and a porch! Just an inch tall, it is very narrow with a steeply pitched roof, just like a Dutch house in the 17th century.
Examine the Miniature Windmill

Robert Cotton Pipe
The inclusion of a tobacco pipemaker in the first groups of craftsmen is as enigmatic to researchers today as it apparently was to John Smith when Robert Cotton, "tobacco-pipe-maker," arrived on the Phoenix in April 1608. No other mention is made of Cotton, so it is not known how long he remained at Jamestown; he is not listed in the muster of 1624-25, so presumably Cotton had either perished or returned to England by then. With archival information lacking, the material evidence of very accomplished mold-made clay tobacco pipes, fabricated from the Virginia red clay and decorated on the stem with European stamps, provides the sole documentation for this early craftsman's work. These distinctive pipes only occur in the early James Fort features that date around 1610 and have not yet been recorded on any other early Virginia sites.
Examine the Robert Cotton Pipe

Surgically Marked Skull
Forensic analysis of a small piece of human skull discovered by archaeologists in a 400-year-old trash pit at Historic Jamestowne has confirmed that it is the earliest known evidence of surgery and autopsy in early 17th-century English America, according to Dr. William M. Kelso, director of archaeology for the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA Preservation Virginia).
Examine the Surgically Marked Skull

Bridled Horse Pipe Bowl
This pipe from Jamestown consists of the bowl only. The top of the bowl has been flattened and an ear has been pulled up above the rim on each side. On the front of the bowl, facing the smoker, simple incised lines a face with two almond-shaped eyes, a band at the forehead and around the chin line, and two bands down the nose. A small hole has been punched on either side of the face but they do not penetrate the interior wall of the bowl.
Examine the Bridled Horse Pipe Bowl

Sheathed Dagger
A dagger, still in its sheath, was discovered along with many other artifacts in the cellar of Structure 166, a building near the 17th-Century church tower. A kind of time capsule, the archaeology suggests that the dagger and other objects nearby may have been left behind suddenly by their owners, undisturbed for nearly 400 years.
Examine the Sheathed Dagger

Fifteenth-Century Breastplate
Breastplates, protecting the chest area, were integral parts of armor worn from the 15th through the 17th centuries. Because they stylistically reflect male civilian clothing, they are easily datable. Early breastplates, like the one found in James Fort, were very rounded with a short bottom flange, mirroring the current fashion of the cloth doublet or jacket.
Examine the Fifteenth-Century Breastplate

Brass Nuremberg Thimble
Some tools traditionally used by tailors have been excavated from early contexts within James Fort and may relate to the presence of the first seven tailors. These include thimbles, needles, straight pins, pressing irons, and bodkins. . . . This brass Nuremberg thimble was found in the bulwark trench of James Fort. There is a maker's mark in the symbol of a bell just above the decorative band of foliage.
Examine the Brass Nuremberg Thimble

Early 17th-Century Pendant
This copper pendant was found sealed beneath the oldest of several working surfaces in the buried cellar of James Fort's 1607 experimental ironworking building. Bly Straube, Senior Curator at Historic Jamestowne suggests the object may depict a Virginia Indian in such detail that it could have been used in the fort as an identification badge.
Examine the Early 17th-Century Pendant

Prince of Orange Medallion
A notable artifact found in the summer of 2008 is a brass medallion bearing the likeness of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange.
Examine the Prince of Orange Medallion

Nuremberg Lion Counterweight
This brass lion, barely one inch tall, served a very important purpose. It is a counterweight from a weight and scale box made in Nuremberg, Germany.
Examine the Nuremberg Lion Counterweight
Featured Tours
In the Trenches
In the Trenches Curator's Artifact Tour
Curator's Artifact Tour

Jane, The Book and Video

Jamestown: The Buried Truth

America in 1607: Jamestown and the Powhatan
Jamestown Rediscovery Preservation Virginia Colonial Williamsburg National Park Service 757-229-4997
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