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Place Made:
Cologne Germany
Date Made:
Early 17th century
stoneware –salt glazed
HOA: 7 1/2″; WOA:5 1/2″; DOA;5″
Accession Number:
Though early seventeenth century Virginia was literally at the edge of the emerging English empire, archeology reveals that it was still enmeshed in global trade networks. Ceramics from across Europe and China have all been recovered from seventeenth century Virginia sites

This stoneware bottle was found at the Maine, a settlement on Governor’s Land outside of Jamestown. In 1618 the Virginia Company instructed Governor George Yeardley to set aside 3,000 acres of land near the capital at Jamestown “to be the seat and land of the Governor of Virginia.” This land was to be farmed by tenants and provide income and support to the Governor and the Virginia Company. The tenant was generally entitled to half the fruits of their labor with the Governor and the Virginia Company splitting the remainder. The artefactual and historical record suggests that the site excavated at the Maine was inhabited for a single tenancy, from about 1618 to 1625. The 1624/5 Muster counted thirty-five inhabitants at the Maine: 29 men and 6 women.

Salt-glazed stoneware bottles like this one were made in huge numbers in the Cologne region of Germany beginning in the 16th century. They were used primarily to store and serve liquids. This particular example was embossed by the potter with the arms of Amsterdam, probably suggesting that it was made for a merchant in that city.

Excavated during a survey of the Maine settlement site on Governor’s Land outside of Jamestown, Virginia, between 1972-1975 by the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.
Credit Line:
Loan courtesy of Department of Historic Resources of the Commonwealth of Virginia