Yesterday, I was priveledged enough to have recieved a tour of the Jamestowne Rediscovery Project from the man responsible for Jamestowne’s rediscovery, Bill Kelso. The Historic St. Mary’s City Field school took their annual trip to Virginia, and the tour of Jamestowne was, by far, the highlight. The tour included behind the ropes visits to the excavation units, a look at their artifacts in their state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, lunch at their new cafeteria, and free admission to the Archarerium, the archaeological exhibit. They have fabulous facilities.
For those of you who don’t know who Bill Kelso is, let me run through a couple of his accomplishments, some of which you may have heard of: He excavated the Kingsmill Plantation in the early 70’s, one of the earliest plantation and slave excavations completed. He excavated Mulberry Row, the row of slave quarters at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation. And, oh by the way, he found the Jamestowne Fort, the birthplace of America, which had been previously to be lost to erosion. He is, as they say, an Archaeological Rock Star. This photo, taken by yours truly, is of Dr. Kelso showing us their partially reconstructed, earthfast structure within the Fort.
At any rate, as you can probably pull from this post, I was a “chaperone” (i.e. driver) for the 2008 Historic St. Mary’s City Field School annual trip to the Virginia historic triangle. We visited Williamsburg and Jamestowne (both the excavation and the settlement, which are entirely different things. The former is an actual excavation of the real thing, while the latter is a Disney-fied recreation). All were fascinating. I went last year as well, but that did not make the trip any less exciting. There is a lot of great work going on, and it was neat to see the behind the scenes of other archaeology labs, excavations, and museum interpretations. I would highly recommend a trip to these places for anyone with any interest.