Jamestown relics which will hopefully be featured in the Scavengeology Museum…. Pure #Merica.
Above all else, I’ve never felt history flow through my veins when holding an object than when holding this sword. What a piece of the past…
A little on Jamestown:
The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the northeast bank of the James (Powhatan) River about 2.5 mi (4 km) southwest of the center of modern Williamsburg. It was established by the Virginia Company of London as “James Fort” on May 4, 1607 O.S.;(May 14, 1607 N.S.), and was considered permanent after a brief abandonment in 1610. It followed several failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, established in 1585 on Roanoke Island. Jamestown served as the colonial capital from 1616 until 1699.
For further reading, I very highly recommend “Marooned” by Joseph Kelly, which I recently finished. I really loved it.
Back to the sword…..
This is a relic of an all iron English “shell guard” cutlass recovered from a site near Forte Jamestown, Virginia, and from the collection of author, collector, and curator, Harold L. Peterson. the period is circa 1650-1670.
The percussion area of the edge shows signs of great and vigorous use. The grip is of ribbed cast iron, as is the pommel. This evidence of wear and use on this piece is a testament to the rigors of life in early America. Unbelievably, much of the blade still holds a sharp edge….
Early colonial blacksmith forged ax with a flared cutting edge and reinforced ears around the eye. Probably forged around Williamsburg, VA. Circa 1650. The haft is modern replacement.
Here is a hand painted map we found of early 17th century Virginia, showing the location of Jamestown, and other early Virginia sites.
Excavated in north of Forte Jamestown in Tidewater Virginia. From the collection of Harold Peterson to Larry Bowly, Kensington, MD. Ca 1650.
Other miscellaneous finds. Sword hilt piece? Colonial flat buttons. Sling swivels for muskets. And a piece of a sword/rapier or bayonet?
Falling Creek Ironworks:
This relic may be the best metal detector find I’ve ever held. This is known as a “Partisan Sword,” an early European style pole weapon, which is actually really brutal in design. It was found in the 1960’s by an early Virginia scavengeologist, who happened upon the site of Jamestown’s Falling Creek Ironworks, which was built in 1621, and abruptly destroyed in the Indian attack/massacre of 1622.
Falling Creek Ironworks was the first iron production facility in North America. It was established by the Virginia Company of London in Henrico Cittie (sic) on Falling Creek near its confluence with the James River. It was short-lived due to an attack by Native Americans in 1622.
The long-lost site was rediscovered in the early 21st century. It is now located in Chesterfield County, about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of the fall line of the James River at present-day Richmond, Virginia. Archaeological and related research work at the site was ongoing as of March 2007.
Tests performed on this partisan sword show that the iron content is consistent with the iron ore local to the forge location. So it’s likely it was one of the first weapons crafted in the English colonies of America. Or you could say, “by Americans.” It also has a likelihood of last being touched by a Jamestown forge worker in the process of a large-scale attack.
Spanish Jesuit relics:
In the next photos, these Spanish Jesuit artifacts were found by a contractor clearing land along the York river several years ago:
These were found nearby Jamestown, and relate to the Jesuit expedition to tidewater Virginia, 36 years before Jamestown. The Ajacán Mission (Spanish pronunciation: [axaˈkan]) (also Axaca, Axacam, Iacan, Jacán, Xacan) was a Spanish attempt in 1570 to establish a Jesuit mission in the vicinity of the Virginia Peninsula to bring Christianity to the Virginia Indians. The effort to found St. Mary’s Mission predated the founding of the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, by about 36 years. In February 1571, the entire party was massacred by Indians except Alonso de Olmos. The following year, a Spanish party from Florida went to the area, rescued Alonso, and killed an estimated 20 Indians.