Archaeology Magazine has named the 1608 church found at Jamestown one of the ten most significant archaeological discoveries of 2010. Discovered by a team of Historic Jamestowne archaeologists, led by Dr. William M. Kelso, director of archaeological research and interpretation for Preservation Virginia, the church discovery confirms how significant the Church of England was in the lives of the new world colonists.
Archaeologists were searching for the remains of a men’s barracks at Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in North America when, during the course of their efforts, the team discovered five deep postholes spaced 12 feet apart, creating an area that matched historical records identifying a 60-foot long wooden church.
Further excavations at the church site led to the discovery of the chancel in front of which, in all likelihood, Pocahontas was married to John Rolfe in 1614. The team also located four graves in the chancel, traditionally the place reserved for the burials of high status individuals. Research about the 1608 church reveals that besides being used for religious services, the facility served as the place, where on occasion, governors and other officials would address the settlers.
“We are honored to be included among such noteworthy archaeological sites all over the world,” said Jim Horn, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president of research and historical interpretation and the Abby and George O’Neill Director of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, who oversees research and programming at Historic Jamestowne. “We are eager to restart work in the spring and to continue archaeological exploration of the 1608 church and the rest of the Jamestown site.”
Other sites on the list include the tomb of Hecatomnus in Milas, Turkey; Paleolithic tools in Plakias, Crete; early pyramids in Jaen, Peru; HMS Investigator off the coast of Banks Island, Canada; and more. Archaeology Magazine is written for travelers and tourists, and focuses on the science and art of archaeology.
Preservation Virginia, a private non-profit organization and statewide historic preservation leader founded in 1889, is dedicated to perpetuating and revitalizing Virginia’s cultural, architectural and historic heritage thereby ensuring that historic places are integral parts of the lives of present and future generations. Its mission is directly consistent with and supportive of Article XI of the Constitution of Virginia to protect the historical sites and buildings in the Commonwealth benefiting both the Commonwealth and the nation. Preservation Virginia provides leadership, experience, influence and services to the public and special audiences by saving, managing, and protecting historic places, and developing preservation policy, programs, and strategies with individuals, organizations, and local, state, and national partners. www.preservationvirginia.org.
Historic Jamestowne is jointly administered by Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service and preserves the original site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World.