Carved and incised bone inlay from Structure 191

This inlay was found in 2012 in the cellar of a James Fort building. The cellar was abandoned during the starving time winter and filled with debris in 1610 on Lord De La Warr’s orders to “cleanse the fort.” The inlay probably once decorated the stock of a firearm that belonged to one of the fort’s gentlemen. The engraved image depicts a figure dressed in a ruff, a slashed doublet, Venetian breeches, and a hat with a large feather. Holding a sword in his right hand, this soldier is in the style of the Dutch artist Jacob de Gheyn II whose military training manual The Exercise of Arms was published in 1607.

The engraving is filled with black ink or other substance to help the image stand out. This soldier is dressed in a style similar to what would have been worn by individuals living and working in James Fort. Other finds such as goffering irons used to curl neck ruffs, doublet buttons, and swords, sword hilts, and pommels help archaeologists build a picture of life at Jamestown that matches the one depicted on this inlay.