Experience the Moment of Discovery

You can see and hear about the latest archaeological discoveries when you take a tour on Jamestown Island. Several times a day a member of the Jamestown Rediscovery team spends an hour walking visitors through the active excavation sites and answering detailed questions. National Park Service Rangers also give tours that are rich in the historical sweep of the Jamestown story. You may witness the moment of discovery as an archaeologist pulls from the ground an artifact that has not been seen in 400 years.

And after your sense of adventure is sparked, consider two behind-the-scenes tours offered by the experts who began the search for the lost James Fort 20 years ago. “In the Trenches” offers an up-close group tour of the 1607 James Fort by Dr. William Kelso, Director of the Jamestown Rediscovery Archaeological Project since 1994. Your reserved place in this special group allows you to come under the ropes to walk the surface of the ground once trod by Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and Queen Elizabeth II — now the very soil being dug by Historic Jamestowne archaeologists. The “Curator’s Artifact Tour” by Curator of Collections Merry Outlaw provides an intimate tour of the collection of the project, which has unearthed more than two million artifacts. This 90-minute guided program offers a rare glimpse of the artifact vault and a discussion of how artifacts tell the story of Jamestown’s early years. Tickets for the behind-the-scenes tours must be purchased online in advance or at the Visitor Center by 9:30 a.m. on the day of the tour.


“If you have come all the way to the Williamsburg area make it a point to go to the Historic Jamestowne (with an e) site. It’s the real spot where all the history of Jamestown was played out. It’s an actual archaeological site. There is a fine museum and welcome center there. It has guides and rangers that are very knowledgeable, and since this is a working archaeological site you can see them doing the painstaking work of uncovering history.”

— Shane Nolan, North Carolina. TripAdvisor, May 2015