Serpent Glass

Broken fragments of a twisted wine glass stem

Project details

  • Object number – 7860-JR
  • Material – Glass
  • Place of Origin – Europe
  • Date – 17th century
  • Context – First Well
  • Location – Vault
  • Category – Featured Finds

These fragments are from of a wine goblet type known as verre à serpents, or glass with serpents, because the stem resembled a coiled serpent.  From the 15th through the 17th centuries, Venetians were masters of glassware production. However, beginning in the 16th century, glass factories throughout Europe began making luxurious glassware in the façon de Venise, or Venetian fashion.  Although expensive glassware like this goblet could be used, it was often displayed in gentlemen’s cabinets of curiosities. These fragments were found in the fort’s first well, a context dating to the period 1608-1610, and they reflect the elite lifestyle of a high status individual at Jamestown. Other glassware in the Venetian style has been found in early-fort-period contexts.