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- September 30, 1996
- Vol. 46
- No. 14
Site Not Unseen
Archaeologists in Jamestown, Va., Find Capt. John Smith's Long-Lost Fort
Kelso says he never thought that the remains of the fort, which burned down in 1608, had been carried off by the river. On his first day of digging, in April 1994, Kelso, who has also excavated the slave quarters at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, found a shard of pottery similar to one recovered from Henry VIII's Mary Rose, which sank off the coast of England in 1545. "I knew we were on to something," he says. "We've been working very hard ever since."
In addition to artifacts, the hard work has yielded a mystery: a skeleton in a wooden coffin. The identity of the dead man, who probably bled to death from the musket ball lodged in his right leg, is unknown; he may have participated in one of the mutinies against the autocratic Smith. "Because so many people were dying left and right," says Kelso, he is intrigued that the man received a formal burial: "We are looking at the possibility that this was someone of fairly high status."
December 20, 2014
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