Most of the three million artifacts in the Jamestown Rediscovery collection fit into broad categories: sword hilts are armor, pieces of pots are either English or Virginia Indian foodways, and colorful beads were used for trade. Yet there are spectacular and quirky items in the collection, too. Here is where you will learn about the odd tool to snuff out candles and about the pieces of a stingray. Here is the discussion of the slate whose every inch shows the thinking of scribblers four centuries ago. Here also is where you will see some of our research process, as we try to understand some of these mysterious objects.

The Jamestown Rediscovery team produced these essays by reaching deep into our artifact collection to highlight a quirky object that may have not made it into the limited display cases at our Archaearium. From fossils to footwear, these short essays focus on objects found during the Jamestown Rediscovery excavations and what we know about them. But you never know where the prose will go — an investigation of the colony’s dogs may include discussion of the origins of the phrase “dog days of summer,” a study of 17th century objects depicting eagles can consider the development of the Great Seal of the United States, and an examination of iron hooks the colonists used to stretch and dry animal skins makes clear the derivation of the phrase “being on tenter hooks.” Delve in and see what you can discover!