Copper alloy pistol
Roman Lock Pistol

This pistol with a brass barrel, iron lockplate, and wooden fishtail stock was still loaded with two lead pistol shot when it was found by archaeologists in 2006 in an early James Fort well. The flint-using gunlock with external mainspring is a rare and early variant of what is known as the Roman lock, a type which — before the Jamestown well find — had not been known to date before 1640.

An expensive firearm for its day, the pistol must have belonged to one of the fort’s gentlemen who had it ready to fire when he lost it down the shaft of the well. Perhaps the halberd that was modified into a hook and was found in the same context was being used to try to retrieve the pistol.

The pistol was later conserved in 2010. In 2011, Jamestown Rediscovery partnered with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) to conduct further analysis and conservation.

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