New Discoveries at Jamestown eBook

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


One small cannon barrel fragment, possibly from a light cannon known as a robinet, has been unearthed (the bore at the end of the barrel is only 1-1/4 inches across).  A varied assortment of 17th-century cannon balls have also been found, appropriate sizes for such ordnance as demiculverines, sakers, minions, and falcons.

[Illustration:  Firing A DEMICULVERINE from A bastion atJames fort.”  (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)]

[Illustration:  Hilt and portion of blade of A swept-hilt rapier excavated at Jamestown of the 1600-1610 period.]


An excellent assemblage of 17th-century musket barrels and gun parts have been recovered from the Jamestown soil, reminiscent of times when Indians attempted to wipe out the small settlement.

Among the gunlocks found are matchlocks, wheel-locks, snaphaunces, “doglocks,” and flintlocks.  The first settlers were equipped with both wheel-lock and matchlock muskets.  Some of the muskets were so heavy, they required a forked ground-rest to shoot (parts of two forked ground-rests have been excavated).  Other muskets, like the caliver, were light, and could be fired without the use of a support.

The standard musket during the early years of the settlement was the matchlock.  By 1625, however, the picture had changed, for the wheel-lock, snaphaunce, and “doglock,” were being used in large numbers, and the matchlock had become obsolete.


Only a few pistol barrels and parts have been unearthed.  One pistol barrel is attractively ornamented with silver bands.


A breastplate and backpiece from a light suit of armor (probably a pikeman’s suit) were found in a refuse pit.  These interesting specimens were probably made in England during the 1600-20 period.

In 1953, Sgt.  Floyd E. Painter found an English siege helmet (1600-40 period) 4 miles down the river from Jamestown Island.

[Illustration:  A Jamestown sentry on Duty shouldering his heavy matchlock musket. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)]

[Illustration:  Early musket barrel and gun parts excavated at Jamestown.]

[Illustration:  Breastplate from A light suit of armor found in A refuse pitThis was one type used between 1600 and 1640.]

[Illustration:  A heavy siege helmet found 4 miles downriver from JamestownWeighing over 8 Pounds, it was one type used in Europe during the early years of the 17th century.]

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New Discoveries at Jamestown from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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