Leaving a Mark: An Analysis of Graphite at Jamestown

Author(s): Mary Anna R. Hartley

Year: 2017


Excavations at the 1607 James Fort site have recovered several pieces of high-quality vein graphite not local to Virginia. Many examples were shaped for use as pencils, but the majority was brought to Jamestown as raw nodules.  Tight dating of the graphite found at Jamestown offers new insight into the form in which graphite was sold in London during the early 17th century and into early graphite pencil use. Drawing upon archaeological and documentary evidence, this paper examines the graphite’s likely provenance, highlights its use as a writing implement in the colony, and explores alternative uses for the graphite nodules during the first decade of English settlement in North America.

Cite this Record

Leaving a Mark: An Analysis of Graphite at Jamestown. Mary Anna R. Hartley. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435308)


Temporal Keywords
17th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 727