Archaeologists excavating at the site of America’s first permanent English colony on Jamestown Island in Virginia will tell you that even the smallest, microscopic artifacts recovered from the soil can tell you much about what life was like during the first years of the fledgling colony. So demonstrates Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologist Danny Schmidt through a newly released video. He shows how recently excavated soil from the colony’s first well (constructed some time before 1611) has been water-screened through an 8th-inch mesh screen onto a window mesh to reveal tiny objects that, together, have told a story about the lives and events of the first colonists.
The well, called “John Smith’s Well” after the famous colonist, was excavated by a team of archaeologists and students in 2009. The processing and analysis of the finds from the well, however, continue to this day. Read more.
Archaeologists excavating in the area where remains of the 1607 James Fort on Jamestown Island in Virginia were discovered are now encountering possible traces of the 1608 church where Pocahontas, the daughter of the Indian Emperor that headed the Powhatan tribal nations, and who arguably saved the life of the legendary 17th century explorer John Smith, was baptized and then married in 1610. Jamestown Island was the location of the first successful, permanent English colony in what is now the United States.
While excavating during the summer of 2010 within the area where the 1607 James Fort was found, archaeologists came across a posthole in the soil that was unusually deep and wide. A posthole is much like a “footprint” left in the soil, indicating where soil had been removed and worked in the past to place a wooden post or log as part of the structure of a building. Usually, within the center of the posthole “footprint” is another “footprint” of the actual post or log (called a post mold), showing the differentiated color of the soil where the post or log had decayed and turned into soil. The posthole unearthed during the summer of 2010 was, compared to most other postholes found at the Jamestown site, unusually large and deep. This suggested that it supported a large structure — something substantially larger than, for example, a settler’s house. Moreover, the posthole correlated with the location of the wooden 1608 church described by William Strachey, the secretary of the Virginia colony, in a letter written in 1610. This was the probable church where Pocahontas was baptized in 1613 or 1614 and then later married to colonist John Rolfe soon thereafter. Read more.