Archaeologists at Historic Jamestowne are beginning to excavate the corner cannon mount (bulwark) trench in the west corner of the 1607 Fort site. The trench is chock full of objects discarded or lost by the early settlers including bits of apothecary jars, Indian pottery, other ceramics, beads, pieces of arms and armor, pipe stems, jettons, copper scrap, sturgeon scutes and bones from food remains.
Visitors can watch as archaeologists uncover hundreds of artifacts each day. Every bucketful of dirt scraped away from the trench fill is rinsed with water through a fine mesh screen to unveil even the smallest artifacts.
So far, since the objects in the trench are similar to other fort collection items found earlier in the project, the fill appears to date to the earliest years of the settlement, probably 1607-1610.
Excavations along the west log wall (palisade) of the fort are also underway and have revealed part of the foundation of a long building parallel to the palisade, with three H-shaped brick fireplaces that appear to divide it into about six rooms, similar perhaps to a London row house or maybe the Governor’s house.
Archaeologists have found about a 90-foot length of cobblestone foundation on one side of the building and hope to uncover a corner when they open up new areas. The architecture appears at this point to be very different from the earth fast mud and stud buildings found at the other end of the fort. Artifacts from the building site date to the fort period and include a relatively high concentration of status items such as broken Chinese porcelain cups compared to other areas of the fort site. This might indicate a social class separation in the overall design of the fort.