• Structure 17, Glassblowing and Island Drive

    Historic Jamestowne

    Part of Colonial National Historical Park Virginia

Efforts of a Virginia Tradesman - 1670s

17th-century pewtersmith making spoons

17th-century Virginia pewtersmith at work

pen and ink sketch by NPS artist Sydney King

In 1655, Ann Talbott patented a one-acre lot. Nearly three centuries later, National Park Service archeologists excavated a fragment of a brick-paved structure located in one corner of her property. Adjoining the structure’s large hearth may have been a brewer’s copper; there is also evidence of a bread oven opening into the fireplace. Flat tiles located nearby may have come from the roof.

Artifacts associated with the site include high-quality architectural hardware such as cock’s-head hinges, butterfly hinges, strap hinges, lock plates, keys and escutcheons, indicating that the structure may have been a fairly impressive one.

Archeologists, however, are far more impressed by a simple pewter spoon found in the vicinity. Although only the spoon’s handle has survived, its 1675 maker’s mark identifies it as the work of Joseph Copeland, a craftsman who worked at nearby Chuckatuck. Although a few artisans such as the Jamestown Potter produced local goods, most colonists succumbed to the lure of the quick profit tobacco cultivation promised.


Did You Know?

Eagle nest with two eagles

The bald eagles hollow-boned skeleton accounts for only five or six percent of its total body weight; its feathers weigh twice that amount.