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April 1, 2011

The Hunt for the 1608 Church Continues When Archaeologists Return to James Fort

The hunt for the 1608 church continues when archaeologists return to the dirt inside James Fort! Jamestown Rediscovery® archaeologists will “dig in” to start the 18th archaeology field season at Historic Jamestowne during the Archaeology Field Season Opening Day from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. Visitors can share in the moment of new discoveries, meet the archaeology team and learn about excavation plans for 2011.

Visitors can view one of the biggest finds from the 2009 field season – a slate writing tablet crammed with drawings and mysterious words on exhibit in the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium. The slate was found preserved in a former well that became a trash pit for the fort’s residents, and the excavated well held thousands of artifacts. A conservator will be on hand to talk about how the puzzle of the slate’s writings has been deciphered so far and visitors get a chance to draw their own messages on a slate tablet with a slate pencil. While in the Archaearium, families can also join a conservator in the hunt for more artifacts by picking and sorting through finely-screened materials.

In the fort, historic tradesmen will demonstrate their crafts, and visitors can learn about the amazing artifacts found at the fort that were used by the coopers. Children can join in the fun around the island with an archaeological dig box activity, crafts, period games and toy shallop (sailboat) races.

This program is free with paid admission to Historic Jamestowne. All programs and demonstrations are included in the Colonial National Historical Park admission fee of $10 per adult (which includes both Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown Battlefield). Children under age 16 are admitted free. Federal Interagency Passes and Golden Age and Golden Access passports to the National Parks are accepted. For further information, call (757) 229-0412 or (757) 898-2410.

This program is presented jointly by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Historic Jamestowne.

Historic Jamestowne is jointly administered by Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service and preserves the original site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Preservation Virginia and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation formed a new collaboration in the fall of 2010 with the goal of connecting the histories of Jamestown and Williamsburg through compelling stories of discovery, diversity and democracy. This initiative brings together experts from Historic Jamestowne and Colonial Williamsburg to enhance public archaeology and create a broader, more cohesive guest experience.

Visitors to Historic Jamestowne share the moment of discovery with archaeologists and witness archaeology in action at the 1607 James Fort excavation April-October; learn about the Jamestown Rediscovery excavation at the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium, the site's archaeology museum; tour the original 17th-century church tower and reconstructed 17th-century Jamestown Memorial Church; and take a walking tour with a Park Ranger through the New Towne area along the scenic James River. For further information, visit or call (757) 229-0412 or (757) 898-2410.

Preservation Virginia, a private non-profit organization and statewide historic preservation leader founded in 1889, is dedicated to perpetuating and revitalizing Virginia's cultural, architectural and historic heritage thereby ensuring that historic places are integral parts of the lives of present and future generations. Its mission is directly consistent with and supportive of Article XI of the Constitution of Virginia to protect the historical sites and buildings in the Commonwealth benefiting both the Commonwealth and the nation. Preservation Virginia provides leadership, experience, influence and services to the public and special audiences by saving, managing, and protecting historic places, and developing preservation policy, programs, and strategies with individuals, organizations, and local, state, and national partners.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121