• Structure 17, Glassblowing and Island Drive

    Historic Jamestowne

    Part of Colonial National Historical Park Virginia

Good, Sweet Water

A 17th-century Englishwoman draws water from a Jamestown well in this conjectural sketch by Sydney King. Some wells were brick cased; others were uncased with a wooden barrel at the bottom.
NPS image

The English remarked that the James was “sweet” (i.e. not brackish) when they arrived on May 13th. And so it was: the snow from the mountains was melting, filling the river with fresh-tasting water. Within a few weeks, however, the weather had heated up and the water was too salty to be healthy to drink. The wells the 17th-century settlers found it necessary to dig have proven archeological treasure-troves to 20th-century excavators.


Did You Know?

Dancers at the Chickahominy Fall Festival and Pow-Wow, 2010.

No Virginia Indian tribes have federal recognition. The normal way – petitioning the Bureau of Indian Affairs – cannot be taken because of Walter Plecker’s "paper genocide" in the 1900s. Since the 1990s, six of the state-recognized tribes have been trying to get it through an Act of Congress. More...