Drum Plate
Drum Plate
  • Object number – 07911-JR
  • Material – Bone
  • Place of Origin – Virginia
  • Date – c. 1608-1610
  • Context – First Well
  • Location – Collections
  • Category – Foodways

Even the smallest artifact informs, so Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists carefully water screen soils from the layers of all excavated features. James Fort’s First Well yielded over a half million artifacts that were discarded during the massive clean-up of the fort in June 1610. The screened soils also generated several pounds of fragile artifacts and ecofacts, which were too large to go through a 1/16″ screen. Under the supervision of Rediscovery curators, educators, and interns, kids and families who come to Jamestown can assist in “picking” the screened material. They have discovered dozens of tiny items such as Venetian glass beads, shell beads made by Indian women, ceramic sherds, lead shot, and tiny animal bones.

All add to the knowledge of Jamestown’s earliest years. This bone was found at a picking station in our Ed Shed, and it was identified with the use of a microscope. Shown magnified 65x, this bone is only 13 mm in length. It is the pharyngeal plate of a juvenile drum, a type of fish with pearl-like teeth used to crush snail shells.