Project details

  • Date

     February 7, 2015

  • Task

     Study Collection

  • Category

     Households, Iron

  • Object number – Various
  • Material – Iron
  • Place of Origin – Likely England
  • Date – Early 17th century
  • Context – James Fort
  • Location – Vault
  • Category – Households

Archaeologists have uncovered numerous keys at the James Fort site. Most of the keys recovered from early fort-period contexts are related to coffers and chests. This is because there were few structures or rooms that could be locked up and secured in the first few years of the colony. The small boxes and chests, to which their keys go, was the only way for the colonists to secure their personal items. Later 17th-century contexts at Jamestown contain large door-lock keys because as conditions in the colony improved more refined structures were constructed with rooms that could be locked.