• Structure 17, Glassblowing and Island Drive

    Historic Jamestowne

    Part of Colonial National Historical Park Virginia

All that Glitters...

Iron pyrite, pictured above, is the classic "Fool's Gold". This, or perhaps some other shiny, brassy metal, was found by the English not far from Jamestown.

Spanish ships returned home laden with treasure; the English had no doubt there was gold to be found in Virginia. Neglecting more pressing survival needs, all the men did was “dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold,” wrote the exasperated Captain John Smith. He was even more disgusted to report that the “gold” proved naught but “gilded dirt”.


Did You Know?

Painting by Sidney King representing settlers searching for medicinal plants

The botanical sassafras was at one time worth its weight in gold as a medicinal plant. It was an early Jamestown export. In modern times it has been used to flavor root beer.