“About the latter end of August” in 1619, the prominent planter-merchant John Rolfe reported, “20 and odd” Africans were forcibly brought to Point Comfort, at the mouth of the James River. Taken from their homeland in Angola by Portuguese slave traders and subsequently captured by English privateers in the Gulf of Mexico, these men and women were the First Africans in mainland English America. In their new book Angela: Jamestown and the First Africans, the Jamestown Rediscovery team chronicles the life of Angela—one of the Africans dwelling at Jamestown—as revealed through archaeology, history, and historical research.
The extraordinary story of the Powhatan chief who waged a lifelong struggle to drive European settlers from his homeland. In the mid-sixteenth century, Spanish explorers in the Chesapeake Bay kidnapped an Indian child and took him back to Spain and subsequently to Mexico. The boy converted to Catholicism and after nearly a decade was able to return to his land with a group of Jesuits to establish a mission. Shortly after arriving, he organized a war party that killed them. In the years that followed, Opechancanough (as the English called him), helped establish the most powerful chiefdom in the mid-Atlantic region. When English settlers founded Virginia in 1607, he fought tirelessly to drive them away, leading to a series of wars that spanned the next forty years—the first Anglo-Indian wars in America— and came close to destroying the colony. A Brave and Cunning Prince is the first book to chronicle the life of this remarkable chief, exploring his early experiences of European society and his long struggle to save his people from conquest.
Jamestown Rediscovery is proud to announce the arrival of their new book Church & State, a summary of the excavations in the 1907 Memorial Church and 17th-century church tower. During the three years of excavations in search of the 1617 Church, where Virginia’s first General Assembly was held in 1619 and where democracy in America was born, archaeologists not only discovered features of the church as hoped, but also a number of burials, including a particularly mysterious one of a high-status individual. Through historical evidence, ground-breaking scientific techniques, and in-depth archaeology, Church & State provides the reader with an inside perspective on the team’s discoveries as they seek to understand the hidden stories of our nation’s past.
“In the summer of 1619, two events occurred within a few weeks of one another that profoundly shaped the course of American history… This book commemorates the fortitude, endurance, and achievements of the first founders—an inclusive history that embraces Virginia Indians, English colonists, and Africans who came together, albeit on very unequal terms, to create a new kind of society in America.” Written by Jamestown Rediscovery researchers in observation of the 400th anniversary of this momentous year.
Along the banks of the James River, Virginia, during an oppressively hot spell in the middle of summer 1619, two events occurred within a few weeks of each other that would profoundly shape the course of history. In the newly built church at Jamestown, the General Assembly—the first gathering of a representative governing body in America—came together. A few weeks later, a battered privateer entered the Chesapeake Bay carrying the first African slaves to land on mainland English America. Written by Jamestown Rediscovery’s own President and Chief Officer, Dr. James Horn.
Jamestown: The Truth Revealed, William Kelso’s update to Jamestown: The Buried Truth, describes the recent excavations of numerous additional buildings, including the settlement’s first church, which served as the burial place of four Jamestown leaders, the governor’s row house during the term of Samuel Argall, and substantial dump sites, which are troves for archaeologists. He also recounts how researchers confirmed the practice of survival cannibalism in the colony following the recovery from an abandoned cellar bakery of the remains of a young English girl. Refuting the now decades-old stereotype that attributed the high mortality rate of the Jamestown settlers to their laziness and ineptitude, Jamestown: The Truth Revealed produces a vivid picture of the settlement that is far more complex, incorporating the most recent archaeology and using 21st-century technology to give Jamestown its rightful place in history and thus contributing to a broader understanding of the transatlantic world.
In 2013, Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists excavated the graves of four prominent men buried in the chancel of the 1608 church. But who where they? Follow the trail as archaeological evidence, forensic analysis, historical research, and cutting-edge technologies help to unravel the mystery.
In 2012 the archaeologists excavating Jamestown’s 1607 James Fort came across a startling discovery. Buried in a 400-year-old cellar were the partial skeletal remains of a young English woman. Careful forensic analysis of her bones revealed she had been cannibalized. While we may never know her true identity, we know a lot about the young woman we named “Jane.” Follow the archaeologists and the forensic scientists as they unravel her story, available for purchase as a book, a DVD, or on Blu-ray.
Although it was the first permanent English settlement in North America, Jamestown is too often overlooked in the writing of American history. Founded thirteen years before the Mayflower sailed, Jamestown’s courageous settlers have been overshadowed ever since by the pilgrims of Plymouth. But as historian James Horn demonstrates in this vivid and meticulously researched account, Jamestown—not Plymouth—was the true crucible of American history. Jamestown introduced slavery into English-speaking North America; it became the first of England’s colonies to adopt a representative government; and it was the site of the first white-Indian clashes over territorial expansion. This definitive and exciting account of the colony that gave rise to America was written by Dr. James Horn, who was born in Kent, England, and moved with his family to the US in 1997. Dr. Horn is currently the president and chief officer of operations with the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation at Historic Jamestowne.
Jamestown: The Buried Truth  by William Kelso
What was life really like for the band of adventurers who first set foot on the banks of the James River in 1607? The written records pertaining to the early settlers are scarce, ambiguous, and often conflicting, and those curious about the birthplace of the United States are left to turn to dramatic and highly fictionalized reports. Jamestown, the Buried Truth takes us literally to the soil where the Jamestown colony began to reveal fascinating evidence of the lives and deaths of the first settlers, of their endeavors and struggles, and of their relationships with the Virginia Indians. Dr. William Kelso, the Jamestown Rediscovery Project’s originator and Emeritus Director of Archaeology, provides a lively but fact-based account, framed around a narrative of the archaeological team’s exciting discoveries.
This is the definitive guidebook to our archaeology museum. It was written by Beverly A. Straube, former Senior Archaeological Curator of the Jamestown Rediscovery Project and a leading expert of 17th-century artifacts and life. High-quality photographs of the artifacts accompany Straube’s text as she uses the objects themselves to present the story of Jamestown from its beginnings in May 1607 until the capital’s move to Williamsburg in 1699. Documentary evidence and contemporary paintings throughout the guide give the artifacts historical context. A map of James Fort and an accompanying artifact legend allow the reader to see where each of the artifacts was excavated just yards away from where the Archaearium now stands.