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Sheathed Dagger

An Excerpt From Jamestown Rediscovery 1994-2004 by William M. Kelso with Beverly Straube:

A dagger, still in its sheath, was discovered along with many other artifacts in the cellar of Structure 166, a building near the 17th-Century church tower. A kind of time capsule, the archaeology suggests that the dagger and other objects nearby may have been left behind suddenly by their owners, undisturbed for nearly 400 years.

This "occupation" level held artifacts scattered about the cellar floor that appear to have been abandoned at one instant in time. In one corner, a fire once burned upon which someone was about to or was once in the process of cooking a cut of pork, or a combination of pork and turtle, in a Virginia Indian pot. A butchered hip-bone of a pig and a butchered tutle shell lay near the cooking fire, suggesting the pork and turtle menu. Near the Indian pot, lay a large Venetian trade bead. Was the cook a Virginia Indian woman?

The identity of the cook cannot be known, but whoever was cooking was doing so while surrounded by weapons. A sheathed dagger was found within arm's reach of the cooking fire, and behind it were found a musketeer's bag of gunflints, lead balls and powder. And why or even how someone could burn a fire on the floor of a mud and stud cellar which presumably had a wooden ceiling (below the first floor) is puzzling. Also in question is why the cellar had a lightly constructed wooden dividing wall, against which the occupation level accumulated, a question which is equally hard to explain. So too are the presence of four shovels left on the floor of this apparently make-shift kitchen.

The great number of Virginia Indian artifacts, the dagger, and copper objects date the cellar to the first few years of settlement just as its association with the east wall of the fort suggests.

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