Shaving Equipment

Project details

The fashion for facial hair during Jamestown’s founding was a trimmed mustache and closely shaven beard, sometimes forming a point at the chin. Few men shaved themselves, leaving this task to the barber-surgeons.

London surgeon John Woodall advised that all surgeons should “take in his Chest a good hoane” to keep his razor sharp. Thirty hones or sharpening stones have been found in James Fort, most of them of sandstone and showing signs of wear. The razor archaeologists found would have once had a bone handle.

We are not positive about the function of this early 17th-century green-glazed double-dish, though it was made in the Surrey-Hampshire border area of England. It is a rare form: only 20 examples have been excavated in England. The bowls are usually in complete or near complete condition and none show signs of being exposed to heat. These factors suggest a specialized usage. At James Fort we believe they were used as a shaving bowl. The small secondary compartment with drainage holes may have provided an area for the barber’s brushes to dry.