This small structure played a part in the industrial activity along the Pitch and Tar Swamp, but the exact use of its three furnaces is unknown.
Chemical analysis of the soil ruled out high-temperature industry, such as a forge. Perhaps the best clue came from Captain John Smith, who noted two "brew-houses" in Jamestown in 1629. Artifacts from the site dated from about 1620 to 1650, and included pieces of copper kettle, pipes, and a cistern. Perhaps this was the source of some Jamestown ale.
The sunken, tiled floor was typical of workshops. The large fireplace and lack of interior partitions also indicated industrial use.
The furnaces, or "fireboxes," sit on brick or tile flooring. Stoke holes in the side allowed tending of the fires. Two of the excavated boxes still had ash in them.