This artifact is a favorite of curators and visitors alike as one of the few iron artifacts stable enough to be handled. This hand-wrought iron chain was recovered from the bottom of the Second Well where it was used to raise and lower the bucket for water. It required very little conservation after excavation because it was buried in an anaerobic environment. Comprised of 16 links, it includes a large circular attachment loop on one end. The settlers likely repurposed the chain from one used aboard one of the first ships that traveled to Jamestown.
Its roughly six-pound weight helped tip the wooden bucket that would have otherwise floated on top of the water. Its short, four-foot length indicates it was attached to a fibrous rope to reach the water in the 15’ deep well. Maybe the chain fell into the well as the rope rotted, or perhaps someone lost their grip, letting the chain fall into the depths below!