Archaeologist troweling in an excavation unit
Excavating the Statehouse foundations
Computer generated model of reconstructed statehouse
3D model of an artist’s reconstruction of the Statehouse

Like previous excavators, the Jamestown Rediscovery team delineated a sequence of construction sequences within the complex. Buildings 1 and 2 were constructed simultaneously and before Buildings 3 and 4. They were roofed with flat tiles or slate shingles while 3 and 4 had S-shaped pantiles. All structures had rear additions, yet those of Buildings 3 and 4 were added later—likely when Building 2 was already in ruins. Buildings 3 and 4 originally contained central chimneys that were later moved to their gable ends, supplementing chimneys in these rear additions. This change followed a larger architectural trend within 17th century Virginia that introduced hall-and-parlor plans and subterranean kitchens, and removed cooking and service areas to the back of the house. Porches were also added to Buildings 3 and 4, further delineating private and public areas.

Building 5, the Statehouse itself, differed greatly from its neighbors. It had a front porch tower and a stair tower on the north wall. It had two rooms likely divided by a central passage. Excavators found possible evidence of fences which would align with historical references to enclosed yards, as well as signs of burning from the two fires at the complex: the first during Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 and the second in 1698 that would lead to the building’s abandonment.

Alongside the architectural materials, excavators recovered a variety of 17th-century artifacts that added to those found by Yonge and previous teams. Among these objects were English tobacco pipes, Virginian Challis and Morgan Jones pottery, casement window leads, and a 1667 tradesmen’s token from the Globe Tavern in London. Together with hand-wrought nails and several known ceramic and glassware forms, these artifacts add to the evidence that the complex was occupied in the late 17th century.

explore the artifacts