New Discoveries at Jamestown eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 57 pages of information about New Discoveries at Jamestown.

[Illustration:  Furniture hardware and accessories foundMuch of the furniture used in the Jamestown houses was made in Virginia.]

Furniture hardware and accessories excavated at Jamestown include hinges, locks, drawer pulls, chest handles, escutcheon plates, upholstering tacks, hasps, and finials.  Most of the furniture hardware is of brass (probably used after 1650).  Since much of it is skillfully decorated, it is believed that it once was attached to furniture of high quality.  Furniture used during the first two decades of the settlement, however, must have been simple with little or no ornamentation.


The candle, made of either tallow or bayberry wax, was the standard lighting device at Jamestown.  Pine torches were often used out of doors, and rushlights and candlewood were undoubtedly used in the humbler dwellings during the very early years of the settlement.  Candlesticks unearthed at Jamestown include a large brass pricket holder, one made of English sgraffito-ware, several incomplete earthenware holders, and parts of delftware candlesticks.  Many fragments of brass and iron candlesticks, as well as a few candle snuffers, have also been recovered.

[Illustration:  Both brass and pottery candlesticks have been foundThe candle was the standard lighting device during the 17th century.]


The fireplace, around which the family gathered, was one of the most important features in the Jamestown home.  Its fire offered warmth in winter, afforded light at night, and cooked the family meals during the day.  An oven, usually found at the back or at one side of the fireplace, baked the family bread and other foods.  About the fireplace, many home chores were carried out, including spinning and sewing; and not far from the glow of the burning logs the children learned their daily lessons and received their early religious training.  Social activities were enjoyed about the hearth, especially during the long winter evenings; and when a member of the family was ill, the fireplace and its accessories were in constant use.  The fireplace was the first place visited by the housewife in the early morning, and was usually the last place where she performed her household duties late at night.

A fine assortment of fireplace tools and accessories have been found at Jamestown, including iron tongs, shovels, andirons, parts of brass warming-pans, and a large fragment from a cast-iron fireback.  One early 17th-century andiron recovered is attractively decorated with a cherub’s head in relief.

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New Discoveries at Jamestown from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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