Reverend Buck (44JC568)


Archaeological site 44JC568 (also known as the Reverend Richard Buck site, after the property’s first owner) was located about one-half mile north of Jamestown. 44JC568 was occupied from c. 1630 until c. 1650 by a series of individuals, many of them descended from Reverend Buck. Although close to Jamestown, in an area known as Neck-of-Land, the site was not located directly on navigable water.

Archaeologist Seth Mallios has described Neck-of-Land as a “leading Jamestown suburb,” with 145 people living in 31 dwellings scattered across the neck. The land was originally patented by the Reverend Richard Buck, minister at Jamestown from 1610 until 1624. Buck officiated at the marriage of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, the supreme chief of the Virginia Tidewater Indians. Buck’s children and their guardians, overseers, and kin continued to occupy Neck-of-Land through the 1650s, but it is difficult to identify precisely who was living at 44JC568. Mallios has argued that the site’s occupants may very well have been servants and, a few years later, the Buck heirs.

Archaeological Investigations

44JC568 was excavated in 1996 and 1997 in advance of residential construction in the area. Archaeologists with the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, students from the University of Virginia, and volunteers participated in excavations over two summers. The site had been previously discovered in 1990 by archaeologists from the James River Institute for Archaeology. Recovery methods included the collection of an approximately 9 percent sample of the plow zone, a controlled surface collection in areas where the plow zone was not sampled, mechanical removal of the remaining plow zone, and the excavation of three barrel-lined wells, nine human burials, a pit, paling ditches (or slot trenches), and a series of post holes and post molds.

The plow zone was sampled by establishing a grid of contiguous 10-by-10-foot squares in an area measuring approximately 80 by 100 feet. Then, a 3-by-3-foot unit was excavated from within each square. Soil was screened through ¼-inch hardware cloth. All artifacts appear to have been retained. A soil sample for chemical testing was also collected from each square. Following the removal of the plow zone from the site, feature deposits were identified, cleaned, photographed, and mapped. Features other than the wells were bisected and then excavated stratigraphically, with feature fill screened through ¼-inch mesh. All artifacts, including brick, rock, and shell, were retained. Wells were excavated in a slightly different manner, because of their size and depth. The top 3.5 feet of well fill was bisected and excavated in two halves. Below that level, however, excavators were forced for maneuvering and safety reasons to excavate each layer as a single unit (that is, not in section). A profile for each layer was assembled by taking elevations along the top and bottom surfaces of each layer. Well fill appears to have been screened through ¼-inch cloth. Both dry- and water-screening were used in these efforts.

Overall, the arrangement of features at 44JC568 is puzzling. No evidence was recovered for a structure that could be interpreted as a principal dwelling. Four small, one-cell structures, referred to as sheds by the project archaeologists, were identified in the vicinity of the three wells. Both “wide” and “narrow” ditches framed these features, which also included nine human burials. Mallios has considered the problem posed by the absence of features clearly identifiable as a main dwelling, and he does not believe that such a structure lies outside the area of excavation. The house may have been in an area of modern disturbance (although Mallios does not think so), or it simply left no archaeological traces. Such a situation would not be unexpected in the Chesapeake.

Shed I

A set of four post holes measuring 5 by 5 feet in plan was interpreted as a small shed. Three post holes contained no artifacts; a fourth contained a single iron nail fragment, suggesting Shed I was erected early in the site’s occupation. However, the northeast post hole of Shed I intruded Burial I, indicating that the memory of a grave at this location had disappeared. This suggests that some time had elapsed between the interment of Burial I and the construction of Shed I.

Shed II

A second set of four post holes formed a four-foot-square, which was interpreted as a second shed although no post molds were observed within the holes. Brick inclusions were observed in the post hole fill, but no other artifacts were recovered.

Shed III

Shed III was a second set of post holes forming a 5-by-5-foot square. The holes contained no artifacts; the molds contained brick inclusions.

Shed IV

Shed IV also measured 5 by 5 feet in plan, with post holes containing only brick inclusions.

Well I

Well I was approximately 13.2 feet deep, with 13 fill layers. A barrel had been inserted at the base of the well. Above this barrel was a wood lining, but much of the shaft appears to have been unlined, or the lining was robbed out. Excavation of Well I produced a dozen faceted terra cotta tobacco pipe bowls with elaborate rouletted decorations and nine examples of terra cotta pipes with an incised asterisk on a pad heel. Other materials included white clay tobacco pipes, ceramics, gold threads, an iron knife blade, a pewter spoon, a cloth seal, case bottles, compass bricks, and a brass pulley that may have been used to haul water from the well. The well’s very bottom layer contained ceramic fragments from a vessel made by the unidentified Jamestown potter, providing a terminus post quem of 1630 for the well’s initial filling There were no post holes or other features directly associated with Well I.

Well II

Well II was approximately 15.5 feet deep, with ten fill layers. As with Well I, a barrel had been inserted at Well II’s base. However, unlike the wooden lining of Well I, Well II appeared to be lined with bricks and stone above the barrel. Well II contained many artifacts, including ceramics, white and terra cotta tobacco pipes, case bottle glass, lead shot, European flint, copper scraps, and a broad axe. A large post mold and hole adjacent to the well may have supported a boom for hanging a bucket to be dipped in the well.

Well III

Well III was approximately 13.5 feet deep, with 17 layers of fill. Again, a wooden barrel had been inserted at the base of Well III’s shaft; a second barrel appears to have sat on top of this bottom barrel, but did not preserve. The top and bottom layers contained conjoinable fragments of a North Devon sgraffito slipware dish. Other artifacts included ceramics, white clay tobacco pipes, case bottle glass, silver threads, a snaphaunce gunlock, and compass bricks. Well II also had an associated post hole and mold that excavators interpreted as a well boom.

Human Burials

Nine human burials were identified and excavated at 44JC568. These burials appear to have been early in date, given the virtual absence of redeposited materials recovered from grave fills. The exceptions were Burials VIII and IX. Burial VIII contained a white tobacco pipe bowl with maker’s mark “WC” on its heel, a pipe stem from the same pipe, and brick flecks. Burial IX contained large brick fragments. These materials suggest that the site had been in some use when the individuals in Burials VIII and IX were interred. Indeed, Mallios has concluded that Burial VIII dates to c. 1650.

The other grave shafts contain no historic period artifacts (although brick flecks were observed in the fill of Burial II). Further, a post hole and mold for Shed I intrudes Burial I, suggesting that the memory of the grave had disappeared when the building was erected.


More than 12,000 artifacts were recovered during the excavations at 44JC568, and indicated a date of occupation from c. 1630 to 1650. Ceramic types include tin-glazed earthenwares (including Montelupo ware), Spanish olive jar, Martincamp stoneware, Frechen stoneware, Border ware, Rhenish stoneware, Chinese porcelain, North Devon sgraffito, Martin’s Hundred earthenware, Jamestown Potter earthenware, and colono ware. Both white and terra cotta clay tobacco pipes were recovered at 44JC568, with locally-produced terra cotta pipes outnumbering white pipes three to one (306 to 102). Site-wide, 60 percent of the white pipe stems had bore diameters of 8/64 inches and 33 percent had diameters of 7/64 inches.

Faunal remains indicate that the site’s occupants consumed both domestic and wild animals.


Mallios, Seth, with contributions by Garret Fesler. 1999. Archaeological Excavations at 44JC568, The Reverend Richard Buck Site. Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Jamestown, VA.

Further Information on the Collection

The 44JC568 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

Reverend Buck (44JC568). ( tDAR id: 6061) ; doi:10.6067/XCV83F4R2T

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 1-21 of 21)


  1. Archaeological Excavations at 44JC568, The Reverend Richard Buck Site (1999)
  2. Artifact Distribution Maps from Reverend Buck (2004)
  3. Artifact Images from Reverend Buck (2004)


  1. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, Brick (2004)
  2. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, Ceramics (2004)
  3. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, Domestic Material (2004)
  4. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, Food and Drink Consumption Vessels (2004)
  5. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, Jamestown Pottery (2004)
  6. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, Rhenish Stoneware (2004)
  7. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, Storage Vessels (2004)
  8. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, Terra Cotta Pipes (2004)
  9. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Artifact Distributions, White Clay Tobacco Pipes (2004)
  10. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Broad Ax (2004)
  11. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Colono Ware Bowl (2004)
  12. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Jamestown Potter Pipkin (2004)
  13. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Jamestown Pottery (2004)
  14. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Ladle (2004)
  15. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Montelupo (2004)
  16. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Snaphaunce (2004)
  17. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Terra Cotta Pipes (2004)
  18. Reverend Buck (44JC568): Wine Cup (2004)