In 2023, the Jamestown Rediscovery team will fully expose the historic well discovered near the North Bulwark of James Fort. First encountered at the end of last summer, the well is believed to date to around 1617, and may be associated with the nearby home of Deputy Governor Samuel Argall. Once the well is fully uncovered, the team will excavate into the feature, hopefully discovering the unique and informative artifacts wells are known for. These artifacts will help Jamestown Rediscovery better understand how James Fort transformed into Jamestown, and shed light on an important transitional era for the site.

The team also plans to further define the ca. 1608 ditch cut into by the well. This ditch was initially identified using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), and then partially uncovered by students from the 2022 Summer Field Institute. This year, the team will use GPR to peer inside the ditch, and then excavate a section of the feature. The goal is to definitively date the ditch, and to determine what activities or occupations may have been nearby. This feature matches the “flag” drawn on the Zúñiga map, and is likely enclosing a garden, animal pen, or part of the earliest townscape near James Fort. Whatever it holds, this ditch will shed light on heretofore unexplored aspects of Jamestown’s earliest history.

Sea level rise and climate change continue to affect Jamestown Island. As 2023 progresses, the team will plan targeted excavations to explore these effects, and to begin mitigating damage to the archaeological resources.

Dig Update Archive, 2004-present

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