Elizabethan Pottery Restored

In June 2016, NPS archaeologists and First Colony Foundation’s Eric Deetz located Elizabethan pottery in a salvage excavation on an eroding bluff 400 yards northeast of the Fort Raleigh earthwork. The pottery was identified by FCF curator Bly Straube as part of a late 16th-century Anglo-Dutch tin-glazed majolica (delftware) albarello apothecary jar, used for storing medicines and ointments. The fragile pottery was retrieved in a fractured and crumbled state, but FCF conservator Alexandra Klingelhofer was able to reconstruct the fragments into a single small sherd that had been scorched by fire after it was broken. The artifact was returned to NPS Cultural Resources Manager Jami Lanier on July 12, and it will soon go on display at the Fort Raleigh Visitor Center. Because the find was close to a large Indian pot of Cashie type (from west of the Albemarle) unearthed by FCF in 2006 and near an ax blade and two Elizabethan-period barrel wells discovered in the 1980s, it suggests that additional excavation in advance of coastal erosion could salvage more evidence of scientific or industrial activities by Raleigh’s colonists. Work is planned to resume at the site this October.

FCF conservator Alexandra (Alex) Klingelhofer returning the albarello sherd at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in July, joined by husband Eric.