Over the past several years Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists have been excavating the site of the 1617 church and have unearthed portions of its original foundations and flooring. In 2018, they turned their attention to one of the most distinctive and earliest surviving burials within the church.
Centrally located in what would have been the chancel 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 led Jamestown archaeologists to believe that they found Sir George Yeardley, the colonial governor who presided over the first representative assembly in the western hemisphere.
Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists worked alongside experts from across the globe to analyze the findings. The team includes: ground-penetrating radar (GPR) specialists; the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Skeletal Biology Program team; the University of Leicester’s Professor 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.
This team used the latest cutting-edge technologies to try to identify who is buried in the grave in the chancel. The results will either confirm what the archaeological and historical clues suggest or could introduce a completely new mystery, so stay tuned!
The Knight’s Tombstone
The Knight’s Tombstone is believed to have marked the grave in the chancel. It has now been returned to its original location within the church following conservation treatment.