The Jamestown Rediscovery team has been excavating outside of the Memorial Church to learn more about the 1617 church, as well as the two later 17th-century churches built on the same site. The church constructed beginning in 1617 was Jamestown’s second church, and is where representative government in English America began with the convening of the first General Assembly from July 30 to August 4, 1619. The 2020 excavations will expand to areas in front of the church tower, where several interesting features were previously identified that may help to shed light on the church’s surroundings as Jamestown grew and changed over the course of the 17th century.
In 2019, the Memorial Church reopened after undergoing two years of excavations within the building’s interior followed by the installation of a new floor and exhibits. The updated space reflects the original footprint of the 1617 church. Two screens near the front of the church show a time-lapse video of the excavation and reconstruction process. Additional exhibit components, to explain more about the original church as well as the significance of the first assembly, are in the planning stage.
The 1617 Church site is in the same location as the Memorial Church within James Fort and is indicated by the number 22 on the Map of Discoveries.
The Knight’s Tombstone
The Knight’s Tombstone, a black limestone ledger stone from the 1617 church, has now been returned to its original location within the church following conservation treatment.