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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Matchlock 1546

44PG302/EU889-88, F-320 Matchlock 1546
Exterior View
Top View (44PG302/EU889-88, F-320)

Matchlock: The simplest form of gun-lock, the matchlock was used in the colonies throughout the 17th century. This archaeological example from Jordan’s Journey in Prince George County has been deformed while in the ground so that the “plate,” the long rectangular bar, is bent as is the serpentine.  The serpentine, match screw, sear, and sear spring are all present.

Note from the top view that you can see the pivoted, bifurcated arm, called a serpentine, that would have gripped a burning match. This element is more clearly illustrated on another even more deformed matchlock from a nearby site: matchlock with serpentine.

This example was recovered from Jordan’s Journey near Hopewell in Prince George County.

Updated April 10, 2018