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Jamestown Excavation: Remains of Early Settlers Identified

Image: Jamestown Excavation: Remains of Early Settlers Identified
Dr. William Kelso, Director of Archeology for Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA), stands on November 22, 2011, at the exact place where Pocahontas stood during her wedding to tobacco entrepreneur John Rolfe, at the site of the church of the first British settlement in America at Jamestown, Virginia. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 03:06 PM

Researchers announced this week they have identified the remains of four men buried on former church grounds during an excavation in Jamestown, Virginia, the first successful British colony in America.

The bodies were first exhumed in November 2013 in what researchers called the church's chancel, indicating that the men had a high status in their community, BBC News reported. Scientists identified the bones using the latest techniques over a two-year period.

"This was a time of food shortages, Indian attacks, and disease," James Horn, president of Jamestown Rediscovery, told BBC News. "These men helped established the colony and bring to life the challenges faced by the first settlers."

Researchers said the men lived in Jamestown between 1607 and 1610, when the colony was nearly lost.

"We have two men from the first expedition of 1607 and two men from the second expedition that saved Jamestown and English America in 1610," Horn said. "So it's highly significant in terms of understanding the success of Jamestown and its survival as an English colony in the New World."

According to the James Rediscovery website, it is believed the graves contained Rev. Robert Hunt, the first Anglican minister at Jamestown; Capt. Gabriel Archer, a critic and rival of Capt. John Smith; Sir Ferdinando Wainman, who was in charge of the colony's horse troops; and Capt. William West, who died in fighting with Native Americans in 1610.

The Jamestown Rediscovery and the Smithsonian Institute announced Tuesday they had uncovered a hexagonal box with the letter "M" etched on it.

Archaeologists found seven bone fragments and a small lead vial in the box, according to The Washington Post. Researchers believe it was likely an object of reverence.

"It's the most remarkable archaeology discovery of recent years," Horn said, according to the Washington Post. "It's a huge deal."

The Jamestown church has historical significance: It's the place where Native American princess Pocahontas married Englishman John Rolfe.

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Researchers announced this week they have identified the remains of four men buried on former church grounds during an excavation in Jamestown, Virginia, the first successful British colony in America.
jamestown, excavation, remains, identified
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2015-06-29
Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 03:06 PM
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