Pike

Project details

  • Date

     December 15, 2014

  • Client

     Bly Straube, Senior Archaeological Curator, 2014

  • Task

     Study Collection

  • Category

     Arms & Armor, Iron

  • Object number – 4018-JR
  • Material – Iron
  • Place of Origin – England
  • Date – Early 17th Century
  • Context – James Fort's Second Well
  • Location – Jamestown Rediscovery Study Collection
  • Category – Arms & Armor

Pike, iron, wood, England (4018-JR)

The pike is a polearm with a small bladed head. The 16– to 18-foot pike was the most effective defense against cavalry charges on the European battlefield, and the pikemen who wielded the weapon had a special role in protecting the musketeers while they were reloading their weapons. The pike was not especially useful to the Jamestown colonists since mounted soldiers did not confront them and their principal military engagements were skirmishes with the Indians.

All the pike heads found in James Fort have four-sided diamond-shaped blades and are known as boarding pikes. Two long iron straps would have secured them to the wooden shaft. The boarding pike is a short 8-foot-long weapon commonly used aboard warships from the 16th to the 19th century.

Provenience: James Fort Structure 177
c. 1617-24 well in northern bulwark area