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Various archaeological artifacts.  England, Holland, Germany, America, and China, 1700-1830. Ceramic, glass, and metal.

Various archaeological artifacts. England, Holland, Germany, America, and China, 1700-1830. Ceramic, glass, and metal.

Excavated from a variety of sites in and near Williamsburg, Virginia.

Archaeological Collections

Bird bottle or house. William Rogers Pottery, Yorktown, Virginia, 1725-1750. Earthenware.  OW: 8 5/8”.

Bird bottle or house. William Rogers Pottery, Yorktown, Virginia, 1725-1750. Earthenware. OW: 8 5/8”.

Excavated at the James Geddy site, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Shoe buckle.  England, ca. 1745.  Silver.  OH: 1 ¾”; OW: 2 1/8”; OD: 5/8”.

Shoe buckle. England, ca. 1745. Silver. OH: 1 ¾”; OW: 2 1/8”; OD: 5/8”.

Excavated at the John Custis House site, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Wine bottle with seal of English tavern keeper R[ichard] Billingsley.  England, 1640-1650.  Glass.  OH: 9”; OW: 4 ¾”.

Wine bottle with seal of English tavern keeper Richard Billingsley. England, 1640-1650. Glass. OH: 9”; OW: 4 ¾”.

Excavated at the John Page Kitchen site, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeological collections are internationally recognized as among the largest and most comprehensive of their kind. Foundation properties have been exceptionally rich in structural and material culture remains and the collection consequently encompasses many millions of artifacts. Among them is a wide array of materials including but not limited to ceramics, glass, metalwork, leather, paper, stone, textiles, wood, worked bone, intact and fragmentary architectural elements, and composites, all ranging in date from pre-European contact to the present.

The artifacts represent many one-of-a-kind assemblages from stratified and tightly dated contexts. Examples include tavern sites, a coffeehouse, tools and products from two large blacksmith shops, a sizeable collection of working-class leather footwear, and the largest collection of glass and ceramic objects from domestic sites whose occupants’ social and economic status can be accurately identified.

The collection is used by Foundation staff, students of archaeology and anthropology, and outside scholars in a broad array of research applications. These include: site-based work at the Foundation; European American, Native American, and African American material life; artifact and trade studies; the evolution of rural and urban landscapes; and proto-industrial developments, among others.

For information on archaeological research at Colonial Williamsburg click here.

Books about Colonial Williamsburg Archaeological Collections

  • Noel Hume, Ivor. A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969.
  • Noel Hume, Ivor. Martin’s Hundred. Charlottesville, Virginia. and London: University Press of Virginia, 1979.
  • Noel Hume, Ivor and Audrey Noel Hume. The Archaeology of Martin’s Hundred, Part I: Interpretive Studies and Part II: Artifact Catalog. Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in association with University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2001.
  • Colonial Williamsburg, Occasional Papers in Archaeology, Volume 1: Five Artifact Studies. Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1973.

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