Border Ware Drinking Jug,
This complete earthenware vessel was uncovered during
excavations in the bulwark ditch of the fort. It is an
early 17th-century Border ware drinking jug. The Border
ware potteries were located in the border area (hence the
name) of Hampshire and Surrey counties in England. They
were the chief suppliers of earthenwares to London during
the 16th and 17th centuries.
The jug consists of very thinly potted buff
earthenware, which has been roughly covered over the
upper half with lead glaze, colored green by the addition
of copper. Despite the pouring spout located opposite to
the handle, documentary evidence suggests this form to be
a drinking vessel for a single serving of wine or beer.
The liquid would literally be poured down the throat!
While it can not be said for sure that the Border ware
drinking jug found in the bulwark ditch was a container
for beer as in its traditional usage, it is known that
beer was a standard commodity on all the English ships at
the time. That it was not plentiful in the colony in the
early years seems certain as it is one of the items the
sailors on each incoming vessel could exchange with
unscrupulous colonists for unauthorized access to traded
Indian commodities. By the late 1620s, the colonists were
brewing their own beer. John Smith records that "for
drinke, some malt the Indian corne, others barley, of
which they make good ale, both strong and small."
Foundations of a brewery dating to the 1620s were
uncovered during excavations in the 1950s in the New
Towne area of Jamestown.