Sandys (44JC802)


Archaeological site 44JC802 was located atop an 85 foot bluff overlooking the James River in James City County, Virginia, approximately five miles east of Jamestown. 44JC802 was occupied from c. 1630 until c. 1650, although the identification of the site’s residents is unclear.

The land on which the site was located, an approximately 400 acre tract, appears to have been in the possession of Edward Grendon by 1628 (and possibly as early as 1624). At his death in 1628, Grendon left the property to his son, Thomas, then living in England. Thomas came to Virginia following his father’s death but appears to have lived on the south side of the James. By 1638, Thomas Grendon had sold the land to John Browning; the account of sale indicated that the land had been in the “Possession of John Warham, dec’d.”

John Wareham may have been a factor for one or both of the Grendons, as he is described as a merchant in at least two court records. Wareham also served as a burgess in the Virginia assembly in 1632 and 1633, representing the approximate area in which the site was located. Whether he actually lived at the site is unclear, but archaeologist Seth Mallios points out that several local landmarks came to bear Wareham’s name.

When John Browning acquired the property on which Wareham may have been living, he had been in Virginia for sixteen years, possibly on a tract of land adjacent to the Grendon parcel. Browning was dead by 1646 when his son, Thomas, repatented the land upon inheriting it. The Browning family held onto the land until the 1650s or 1660s.

Archaeological Investigations

44JC802 was excavated in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997-1998, and 2000 in advance of residential construction in the area. Archaeologists under the direction of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities’ Jamestown Rediscovery project were responsible for the excavations. Recovery methods included controlled surface collections, shovel testing, and the excavation of 158 2.5-by-2.5-foot and 235 5-by-5-foot test units. The remaining plow zone was mechanically removed in an effort to define site boundaries conclusively. A large number of features were identified, mapped, excavated, and recorded. Most soils were screened through ¼-inch mesh and samples were collected for flotation, phytolith, pollen, and carbon analyses.

The excavations at 44JC802 revealed three earth-fast structures, paling ditches (also called slot trenches), a daub pit, a well, and storage pit as well as other secondary features.

Structure 1

Structure 1 measured 40 by 18 feet, represented by at least nine post holes. No evidence of a chimney, hearth, additions, or building repairs was observed during the course of excavation. Analysis of post positions and elevations from the surviving molds suggest that this building was not raised in tie-beam pairs or sidewall assembly. Mallios concludes that Structure 1 was “not a typical dwelling,” given its oversized bays and relatively small number of associated posts. The building probably did not have a second story. It likely had a dirt floor (although this is not necessarily unusual for dwellings). Using evidence from a similar structure excavated at Flowerdew Hundred, Mallios argues that the building was “a storage facility like a storehouse, barn, etc.”

A “slot trench” or paling ditch measuring approximately 45 feet in length surrounded the building’s southern corner. The enclosure is less than five feet from the building’s sides with gaps that probably allowed passage into the structure.

Structure 2

Structure 2 measured 38-by-18-feet and consisted of 11 postholes, two of which supported an external chimney on the building’s south wall. Like Structure 1, Structure 2 does not appear to have been repaired during its life. Analysis of post positions and elevations from molds indicate that this structure was raised as four sets of tie-beam pairs. Mallios concludes that Structure 2 may have been divided into two rooms: a larger, heated hall and a smaller, unheated parlor. Alternatively, based on evidence from a similar structure excavated in Maine, Mallios believes that the building could have had a central cross passage flanked on either side by rooms, one heated and one unheated.

A paling ditch measuring at least 129 feet in length originated off of the northeast corner of Structure 2 and appears have functioned as a yard divider rather than as an enclosure for the building.

Structure 3

Structure 3 was uncovered at the end of this multi-year project during the course of mechanical stripping. This building measured 30 by 18 feet and was represented by nine postholes. Structure 3 does not appear to have been raised in pre-assembled units, nor does it appear to have had a chimney. Like Structures 1 and 2, Structure 3 does not appear to have been repaired or enlarged during its use. There were no paling ditches associated with this building, and its use remains unknown.

Other Features

Other features found and excavated at 44JC802 include a large daub or borrow pit filled with artifacts, including ceramics and weaponry. A second, smaller feature was identified as a storage pit. Although the pit was not typically shaped as a storage pit (that is, rectangular in plan with straight sides and a flat bottom), Mallios concludes that the “pit appeared to be dug with much care and attention to detail as it was perfectly round with smooth walls…” Like the daub pit, the storage pit contained ceramics and weaponry.

A fairly deep well shaft that apparently never hit groundwater was also excavated. Well 1 may or may not date to the early 17th-century occupation; 17th-century materials were found in the lower levels of the shaft’s fill, but a number of small bore white clay tobacco pipe fragments were also found. The well shaft’s top layers were filled in the late 18th century. The source of this later material was probably the nearby Utopia site.


Thousands of artifacts were recovered from 44JC802. Fragments of 67 ceramic vessels include European and locally made pots; only eight fragments of Indian pottery are included in the assemblage. Ninety-six percent of the tobacco pipes are European white clay, including Dutch and English specimens.

Case bottles dominate the glass assemblage, although some wine bottle fragments were recovered. Other glass artifacts include table glass, beads, buttons, mirror glass, a linen smoother, and window glass.

Arms and armor formed a significant component of the 44JC802 assemblage. These included firearm matchlocks, snaphaunces, scourers, worms, bandolier caps, shot and sprue, brigandine plate armor, chain mail, armor with rolled edges, dagger hilts, and sword blades, buckles, hangers, and strap guides. Other metal tools included axes, hoes, mattocks, files, harpoons, spear points, knives, ladles, and spoons.


Mallios, Seth. 2000. At the Edge of the Precipice: Frontier Ventures, Jamestown’s Hinterland, and the Archaeology of 44JC802. Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Jamestown, VA.

Further Information on the Collection

The 44JC802 collection is owned by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) and curated by the APVA’s Jamestown Rediscovery Project. For more information about the collection and collection access, contact curator Beverly Straube at 757-229-4997; email

Cite this Record

Sandys (44JC802). ( tDAR id: 6060) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8HQ41C6

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1630 to 1650

Spatial Coverage

min long: -77.498; min lat: 36.633 ; max long: -75.41; max lat: 39.368 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Project Director(s): Seth Mallios

Resources Inside this Project (Viewing 1-29 of 29)


  1. Artifact Distribution Maps from Sandys (2004)
  2. Artifact Images from Sandys (2004)
  3. At the Edge of the Precipice: Frontier Ventures, Jamestown's Hinterlands, and the Archaeology of 44JC802 (2000)
  4. Midden Analysis Charts from Sandys (2004)


  1. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, Brigandine (2004)
  2. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, Case Bottles (2004)
  3. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, Faunal (2004)
  4. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, Jamestown Coarseware (2004)
  5. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, Military Objects (2004)
  6. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, Shot and Sprue (2004)
  7. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, Terra Cotta Pipes (2004)
  8. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, Tin-Glazed Earthenware (2004)
  9. Sandys (44JC802): Artifact Distributions, White Clay Tobacco Pipes (2004)
  10. Sandys (44JC802): Bodkin (2004)
  11. Sandys (44JC802): Brigandine (2004)
  12. Sandys (44JC802): Ceramics (2004)
  13. Sandys (44JC802): Decorated Dutch Pipe Bowls (2004)
  14. Sandys (44JC802): Dutch Pipe (2004)
  15. Sandys (44JC802): Firearms (2004)
  16. Sandys (44JC802): General Site Map (2004)
  17. Sandys (44JC802): Glass Beads (2004)
  18. Sandys (44JC802): Harpoons (2004)
  19. Sandys (44JC802): Hunting Points (2004)
  20. Sandys (44JC802): Midden Analysis, Artifact Classes (2004)
  21. Sandys (44JC802): Midden Analysis, Ceramic Types (2004)
  22. Sandys (44JC802): Midden Analysis, White Clay Pipe Bore Diameters (2004)
  23. Sandys (44JC802): Midden Map (2004)
  24. Sandys (44JC802): Post-medieval Redware Cooking Pot (2004)
  25. Sandys (44JC802): Sword Parts (2004)