Excavations have concluded on a mid-17th-century well located in the southwest corner of James Fort's 1608 church. Several artifacts were found in the bottom of the well including a hoe blade stamped with a maker's mark, a pewter spoon also bearing a maker's mark, an axe head, a decorated pipe bowl, fragments of a leather shoe, and dozens of animal bones. These artifacts are in remarkable condition due to the fact that they've remained submerged below the water table for over 300 years. Though the well is located just inside the southwest corner of the church, its position is merely coincidental, as the church had been torn down decades before the construction of the well.
The wells at Jamestown have yielded a remarkable array of artifacts, in large part due to the fact that they were used as trash dumps once they ceased to be used as a water source. The excavations of this well have turned up substantially fewer artifacts than those of previous wells. This may indicate a well that was in private rather than public use. Its small diameter and its mid-17th-century construction date may give credence to this theory. By this time, James Fort had expanded to become Jamestown, and its land was largely held in private hands. If this well was indeed a private one, there were probably less people using it while it was a water source and less people using it as a trash dump once the water turned sour (which probably didn't take too long given its proximity to the brackish James River). That being said, while there were less artifacts found overall, there were still a substantial number of artifacts found at all levels of the well excavation. Finds discovered above the water table include human teeth, beads, pipe fragments, and a portion of a crucible.
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