After several hours of driving through traffic on I-95, we found ourselves at the Historic Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. We were relieved, but I'm sure not as relieved as those that made the 5-month long ocean crossing in 1607. Despite that, I still can't believe the traffic on I-95, on a weekend!
The location of Jamestown was selected by Captain Edward Maria Wingfield. Chosen because of it's position as being a prime defensible strategic point, it turned out to be a horrible spot for agriculture and the water too brackish. Times were extremely difficult back then.
Welcome to Fort James. The building to the left of the entrance is one of the oldest surviving buildings built by Europeans in the US.
Actually, only the front entrance, which was the church tower, is from the original church tower built in 1639. The actual church partition (pictured here), which was built in 1617, was destroyed after abandonment mid 1700's. This part was rebuilt in 1907, over the 1617 foundations. Kind of confusing, I know. Basically, the front of the building is really, really old (for the United States of America).
Pictured here (on the left) is the interior of the original church tower, and my husband flirting with the docent. Above the doorway is the official Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
You can view the original 1617 brick & cobblestone foundations inside the church structure.
Since 2003, there has been an ongoing archeological dig at Jamestown. They have discovered graves, God Save the Queen lead tokens, pottery, building foundations....
And most recently (end of June) the bones of a mature horse (an elder male), dating back to the 1650's.
John Smith, the colony's principal trader with Indians.
The fort was built in a triangle with each corner armed with canons.
Pocahontas (aka Matoaka, or Rebecca Rolfe, wife of John Rolfe)
Part of the fort is now submerged in water since the coastline has receded.
Shrine dedicated to Reverend Robert Hunt, the first Anglican minister of the colony.
1607 burials within the fort. During that time, also know as the "starving time", the colonists were instructed to conceal their numbers of dead from the local tribes. Only 38 of the original 104 settlers survived.
Site of the first landing... taken over by geese!
Memorial cross in front of the Archaearium Museum.
Foundations of the first statehouse.
Skeleton of a young settler who died of a musket ball wound. It was interesting to see this in person after seeing it featured on the documentary Nightmare in Jamestown (which you can stream on Netflix).
Meet "Jane", the skull of a teenage girl whose remains were found amongst butchered animal bones (dogs, horses) that date back to the "starving time". Forensic evidence on Jane's skull reflects how dire things were --the settlers resorted to cannibalism to stave off starvation.
Butchered dog & horse remains. During the "starving time", the colonists resorted to eating their dogs, horses, cats and even rats and snakes.
Breastplate, broad sword, and basket hilt, amongst other pieces of weaponry.
: 1368 Colonial Parkway, Jamestown, VA 23081
: 8.30am - 4.30pm
: $14 (also covers Yorktown Battlefield)
Jamestown Settlement, a Living History Museum
After exploring Historic Jamestowne (the original site of the settlement), we visited a living history museum known as "Jamestown Settlement". It is just down the road from the actual, original settlement. It's a little confusing when researching places to visit but Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement are two different parks, thus there are separate entrance fees.
Entrance to Fort James.
I have the suspicion that this replica bed is probably more ornate and comfortable than what it really was like back then.
Helmets and breastplates
Church, their most important structure. Only heathens didn't go to church everyday, often times twice a day. Sorry folks, no Sunday football.
: 2110 Jamestown Road, Route 31 S., Williamsburg, 23185
: 9am - 5pm
: (13+) $16, (6-12) $7.50
We would love to hear from you and about your adventures! Fill out the form below to leave a comment.