Shipping Tag

Project details

  • Date

     February 5, 2015

  • Task

     Study Collection

  • Category

     Exchange, Lead

  • Object number – 3999-JR
  • Material – Lead
  • Place of Origin – England
  • Date – Early 17th century
  • Context – James Fort's Second Well
  • Location – Archaearium
  • Category – Exchange

This small lead shipping tag was found at the bottom of a James Fort well dating 1611-1617. Stamped “YAMES TOWNE” with individual die stamps, it probably marked a container of goods once warehoused in England. This is the first object found by Jamestown archaeologists that indicates the colony as an address. The use of a “Y” instead of a “J” for James is not unusual, as spelling was irregular in the 17th century (and it may indicate a German or Dutch origin for the goods being shipped, since those languages represented “j” with “y” during this time period).

In honor of Jamestown’s 400th anniversary and the parallels between the English explorers of the 17th century and NASA’s space explorers today, this tag flew aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station in June 2007. Mission specialist Patrick Forrester returned the tag to Jamestown on September 6, 2007, after a trip that covered 5,809,363 nautical miles!