Once the sun had set at Jamestown, or if work was occurring in one of the below ground cellars in one of James Fort’s early buildings, artificial light would be needed to see. Most of the men probably relied on light provided from a fire, commonly a campfire or, if they were lucky, hearth fires. High-status gentlemen would have been able to afford candles made of beeswax and tallow, providing them with a private source of light for reading or writing. Fragments from both earthenware and metal candlesticks have been found at James Fort.
Earthenware candlesticks seem to have been more popular in the earliest years of the fort. Fragments of at least four earthenware candlesticks, including the almost complete one pictured here, were found in both the Blacksmith Shop/Bakery and in the Factory. One pewter candlestick base has been found at Jamestown, discarded into the central Kitchen and Cellar. All of these early fort period (ca. 1607-1610) buildings contained workspaces in belowground cellars, and activities taking place in these buildings would have necessitated individual sources of light even during the daytime.