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Jamestown, the Buried Truth by William M.…
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Jamestown, the Buried Truth

by William M. Kelso

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    Martin's Hundred by Ivor Noël Hume (fdholt)
    fdholt: The finding of this early settlement predates the finding of the original settlement and fort of Jamestown by thirty years.
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A popular account of how the archaeological work of the last generation has given us a new understanding of the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia. I'm not as impressed as some people but Kelso does tell the story of his work on the site with great verve. ( )
  Shrike58 | Dec 5, 2012 |
As my mom likes to tell the story, back in 1994 archaeologist Bill Kelso addressed a small audience to introduce his plans for the Jamestown Rediscovery project. The lack of interest arose from the notion that all that could be learned about the early days of the settlement had already been discovered. It was popularly believed that the remains of James Fort had been eroded by the James River.

Bill Kelso proved them wrong.

Jamestown, the Buried Truth by William M. Kelso tells the story of 12 years of excavation and discovery at Jamestown. The remains of the triangular fort from Jamestown's early period 1607-1624 were there to be found, and the was just the beginning. The archaeologists uncovered remnants of the monumental effort to build a new colony in an unforgiving country fighting diseases, weather, starvation and conflicts with the native population of Tsenacomacans. The material record tells stories undocumented in the colonists records and early histories. The archaeological team may even have uncovered the remains of Bartholomew Gosnold, an early leader of the colony.

Kelso emphasizes that despite their flaws and mistakes, the Jamestown settlers were far from failures and Jamestown was not a fiasco but in fact successfully the first permanent English settlement in North America. Much to my pleasure, Kelso writes a chapter on the long, often overlooked period of Jamestown after initial settlement. From 1619-1699 Jamestown was home to the first popularly elected governmental body and served as the capital of the Virginia Colony. Kelso traces the development of that government through the traces of the five structures that served as the State House.

I'll be traveling to Virginia in a couple of weeks for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown's settlement. It should be an exciting event and a big party. More information at Jamestown 2007 and Jamestown 400. Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne (National Park Service), and Historic Jamestowne (Association for the Preservation of Antiquities) are always worth a visit, in person or online.

Other Jamestownia worth reading:

The cover story in the May 2007 edition of National Geographic is all about America in 1607.

A January 9, 2007 article in the Boston Globe about archaeological discovery of seeds, Jamestown seeds reflect survival efforts.

If you like a little fiction in your history, there's Secret Histories: The Jamestown Colony in Postmodern Fiction at The Millions (A Blog About Books). ( )
  Othemts | Jun 26, 2008 |
Dr. Kelso has done dug up the real Jamestown! Here is his report in a highly readable book with tons of photos from the dig. This book should be at the top of the list for anyone interested in reading about Jamestown. ( )
  noblechicken | Apr 1, 2008 |
Dr. Kelso has done dug up the real Jamestown! Here is his report in a highly readable book with tons of photos from the dig. This book should be at the top of the list for anyone interested in reading about Jamestown. ( )
  CHPLBookmobile | Apr 1, 2008 |
Interesting read about Jamestown. Obviously a lot of speculation based on what the archeologists have dug up around there. But it is interesting to speculate what life was like for the colonists and the trials they faced. Although I expected a bit more from it but oh well. It was an interesting read. ( )
  Brandie | Jun 27, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0813925630, Hardcover)

What was life really like for the band of adventurers who first set foot on the banks of the James River in 1607? Important as the accomplishments of these men and women were, the written records pertaining to them are scarce, ambiguous, and often conflicting, and those curious about the birthplace of the United States are left to turn to dramatic and often highly fictionalized reports. In Jamestown, the Buried Truth, William Kelso takes us literally to the soil where the Jamestown colony began, unearthing the James Fort and its contents 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. He offers up a lively but fact-based account, framed around a narrative of the archaeological team's exciting discoveries. Once thought to have been washed away by the James River, James Fort still retains much of its structure, including palisade walls, bulwarks, interior buildings, a well, a warehouse, and several pits, and more than 500,000 objects have been cataloged, half dating to the time of Queen Elizabeth and King James. Artifacts especially reflective of life at James Fort include an ivory compass, Cabasset helmets and breastplates, glass and copper beads and ornaments, ceramics, tools, religious icons, a pewter flagon, and personal items. Dr. Kelso and his team of archaeologists have discovered the lost burial of one of Jamestown's early leaders, presumed to be Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, and the remains of several other early settlers, including a young man who died of a musket ball wound. In addition, they've uncovered and analyzed the remains of the foundations of Jamestown's massive capitol building. Refuting the now decades-old stereotype that attributed the high mortality rate of the Jamestown settlers to their laziness and ineptitude, Jamestown, the Buried Truth produces a vivid picture of the settlement that is far more complex, incorporating the most recent archaeology to give Jamestown its rightful place in history and thus contributing to a broader understanding of the transatlantic world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:03 -0400)

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