For nearly 2 years Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists have been excavating the site of the 1617 church and have unearthed portions of its original foundations and flooring. Now, they have turned their attention to one of the most distinctive and earliest surviving burials within the church.
Centrally located in what would have been the main aisle of the 1617 church, this grave is primarily undisturbed and significantly larger than most other burials found at Jamestown. Its prestigious location and other unique qualities lead Jamestown archaeologists to believe that they have found Sir George Yeardley, the colonial governor who presided over the first representative assembly in the western hemisphere.
Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists are working alongside experts from across the globe to analyze the findings. The team includes Ground Penetrating Radar specialists; the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Skeletal Biology Program team; the University of Leicester’s Prof. Turi King, who led the genetic analysis for the King Richard III Identification Project; and dental specialists Dr. Josh Cohen of Virginia Commonwealth University and Dr. Martin Levin of the University of Pennsylvania.
Over the next several months this team will use the latest, cutting-edge technologies to try to identify who is buried in the grave in the aisle. The results will either confirm what the archaeological and historical clues suggest or could introduce a completely new mystery, so stay tuned!