In October, Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists focused on completing projects around the 1907 Memorial Church and in James Fort. Simultaneously, the crew also prepared for a burial project in the 1608 Church and north of the brick church scheduled for early November.
On the south side of the Memorial Church, the excavated unit containing the entry-way to the 1640s church was expanded to the west. This allowed the crew to further expose several features around it. See the Dig Update video featuring Senior Staff Archaeologist Sean Romo for more about the discoveries in this unit.
At the Fort Site, the crew began backfilling around the Cellar Kitchen. Since its initial discovery in 2012, the cellar site has remained open to the public as part of an outdoor exhibit. Because the system for protecting the site is very labor-intensive, the team decided to backfill around the cellar and to create better framing over the site to make it easier to maintain. Before the alterations are complete, archaeologists plan to investigate a large circular feature located just south of the cellar, which may relate to James Fort.
At the end of the month, the team prepared to investigate two burials. One burial was in the 1608 church and the other was found north of the later churches. The burial in the 1608 church was discovered at the same time as the four chancel burials in 2010, but was left unexcavated at that time. It was located in the central aisle of the church and partially impacted by the construction of a Civil War fort and modern electrical utility boxes. To reexamine the burial, the team backhoed out the soil deposited over the site following the 2010 excavations.
In the summer, the team discovered a burial in a test unit outside the northwest corner of the Memorial Church, which was parallel to the north wall foundation. The lack of artifacts visible on the surface of the grave suggested that the grave was early. Archaeologists decided to investigate this burial, as there was some speculation that it could relate to the 1617 Church recently under excavation. To prepare for the burial excavation, postholes that cut into the burial shaft—likely related to late 19th-century fence lines protecting the church ruins—were removed so that only burial fill remained. The team is very excited to discovery the story each of these burials will tell.