Skip to comments.Archaeologists Unearth Rare 17th Century Find at Jamestown Excavations
Posted on 06/26/2012 9:44:52 AM PDT by Pharmboy
The pocket-sized ivory sundial likely belonged to one of the early English gentlemen colonists.
It was discovered while archaeologists were carefully digging fill soil above a cellar dated to the early James Fort period (1607-1610) at Jamestown, Virginia, the site of North America's first successful English colony. The artifact was the lower leaf of an ivory pocket sundial known in the 17th century as a diptych dial. It clearly bore the name of its maker, Hans Miller, who was a 17th century craftsman known to have made sundials in Nuremberg, Germany.
Like many objects found at the Jamestown excavations, it had taken the long journey across the Atlantic, likely in the pocket of one of early Jamestown's gentlemen colonists. Such pieces were more commonly carried by individuals of gentry status.
It is not totally unique within the Jamestown context. Another lower leaf section of a table dial was recovered in 1998 from a structure near one of the palisades of the original James Fort. The diptych dial, on the other hand, was found in a cellar near James Fort's first well, which was only 10 feet away from the cellar.
"Such dials have two leaves like a book, hinged together on one end so the leaves open out to form a right angle", reports the discoverers at the Jamestown site. "Most diptych dials include a horizontal dial engraved on the inside of the lower leaf and a vertical dial on the inside of the upper.
Strung between the two leaves is a "pole string" to serve as the gnomon (the object that makes a shadow; measuring the length and position of that shadow indicates the hour of the day)".
(Excerpt) Read more at popular-archaeology.com ...
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This was neglected by the archeaologists...because Rockefeller was going to have his little moneymaker. Follow the money.
Your comment caused me to research Rockefeller and possible connections. Are you saying that they put barriers up to the Jamestown excavations because they wanted Williamsburg in the spotlight? Interesting...
A complete and mint condition example of this device was shown on Pawn Stars, I believe last season. The expert they brought in to examine it was pretty excited.
Obviously that was lost by my ancestor. I’ve been looking for it all these eyars. You can return it to AFTR! ;^}
eyars = years
We have this old family story handed down for years.........
No, I believe that it was lost by either my wife’s ancestor, John Rolf or by my ancestor, Stephen Hopkins who was there for several years during that period. I’ll have my son in Maryland drive down to pick it up.
At the time Rockefeller developed Williamsburg, most historians thought that the original site of Jamestowne Fort had slipped into the river.
Remember, Rockefeller secretly started buying all the property in Williamsburg until he got caught.
I did research there for a year.
I remember when the present site of the fort was discovered in the early ‘90s. I still have the newspaper clippings. The archeologists were so excited because they thought that the original fort was long gone — sunk into the James River. At least that is what they claimed in published reports at the time.
I paid particular attention because my earliest ancestors on this continent arrived on 1st Supply.
What did Rockefeller really know? What did any of them really know? It is not for me to conjecture, but I remember that one man labored out there alone for a number of years while the rest of the archeological community laughed at him. Then he found the footings of the original fort. And it wasn’t that long ago.
I have spent time at Williamsburg, at the Jamestowne dig, and at the reconstructed “fake” Jamestowne Village. My time out at the Jamestowne dig was on a horrendously hot, humid, July day. The heat simply took your breath away, and the mosquitoes were viscious. All I could think about was that my ancestors must have had a harder time surviving the summers than the winters.
Indeed, my first ancestor did not survive. But, he had left a daughter back in England who came out to take up her inheritence. She married another Jamestowne pioneer and later died in childbirth. The baby survived. And, so it goes.
Several of my family lines run back through the earliest days of Jamestown as well.
I wonder how many of us there are? Although the earlist Jamestowne settlers died by the hundreds, they seem to have produced enough offspring to populate this land thousands of times over. It would be interesting if someone could figure it out.
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