03 September 2015

Jamestown Revelations

You may have seen the news in July about the Jamestown burials and also the mysterious box.

If not, here’s a bit of a recap of that news from a few news outlets.

Jamestown excavation unearths four bodies — and a mystery in a small box (Washington Post, 28 July 2015).  Do check out the video!

JAMESTOWN, Va. — When his friends buried Capt. Gabriel Archer here about 1609, they dug his grave inside a church, lowered his coffin into the ground and placed a sealed silver box on the lid.

This English outpost was then a desperate place. The “starving time,” they called it. Scores had died of hunger and disease. Survivors were walking skeletons, besieged by Indians, and reduced to eating snakes, dogs and one another...

... more than 400 years after the mysterious box was buried, Jamestown Rediscovery and the Smithsonian Institution announced that archaeologists have found it, as well as the graves of Archer and three other VIPs...

In the Closet in Early America (Talking Points Memo (TPM) blog, 29 July 2015) and Remains Of Early Jamestown Leaders Unearthed In New Discovery. Do watch the video (half-way down the page) about the process of unearthing the burials!

The Jamestowne Chancel Burials (Vita Brevis, the blog of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.)

The announcement Tuesday of the (probable) identification of the remains of four men buried under the chancel of the first parish church at Jamestowne, Virginia – first discovered in 2010 and unearthed in 2013 – has now made the front page of The Wall Street Journal and appeared in other leading news outlets. While not the first Englishmen to die in the nascent American colony, they were nearly so, probably interred in Virginia soil in 1608 and 1610, more than a decade before the Mayflower arrived on American shores; these men were certainly among the colony’s founders...

All of these news articles about the relatively recent discovery of these burials each present a slightly different perspective on the find, the historical context, the process, and much more!

Though my ancestors came to these shores three centuries after these early settlers, it’s still fascinating to learn more about them via their burials. It is also exciting to be reminded that it’s taken 400 years to discover these previously hidden gems – what else is hidden under something else or in the walls of a structure, etc, that are waiting to be discovered?!?!

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