tv [untitled] May 31, 2012 9:30pm-10:00pm EDT
and bill kelso, live from jamestown. we're taking your tweets. @cspanhistory is our handle. and our numbers are 202-737-2001 eastern. and mountain and pacific, 202-737-2002. we are taking your questions. here's warrenson, virginia, charlie, go ahead. >> caller: thanks so much for taking my call. i'm a public high school history teacher in northern virginia. i want to thank bill and bly for digging for the truth for our rich virginia history. a couple questions. one is artifacts, when you dig for them, what's the average depth in the ground? with the exception of the confederate earthworks. i understand that. is it by gravity? is it by the environment? what's the average depth and why are they in the ground certain places deeper than others? the red brick structure in the
background, is that a rebuilt church or is part of it original? and can you speak to the settlement that was in maine that was i don't know if it was abandoned by cold weather perhaps. thank you so much. >> okay. that's a lot of questions there. as far as depth. it depends where the object was dropped or thrown. if it goes down a well, it can be 15 feet deep. if it's in a layer that's just been laid on the ground and, say, when a confederate earthwork was built here, some ground's removed, it would be right on the surface, so it just all depends how the land was used where the artifact's found. let's see. go ahead. >> the church. >> oh, the church. the church you see behind us. yes, it's a 1907 reconstruction
behind an original church tower from the 17th century. >> are both of you surprised that you found as much material as you have? that's a spot right there on the river. you get very strong weather and high tides and yet there's 1.5 million artifacts in your archaeology lab. >> well, i've got a couple theories for that. one, they were under siege most of the time. i think the colonists, the first three years or so spent so much time inside. they're not going out. going to leave anything outside very much. they didn't spend much time out there. the other thing is so many people died immediately and their possessions, you know, are just tossed away. >> i think that's a good reason that they are sort of ownerless objects sort of kicking around. >> let's go back to calls. martinsville, virginia, gene, hi. >> caller: calling from western virginia, and mr. kelso, i have
your book. i enjoyed reading it. i have two questions. i'd like comments. when the jamestown settlement took place, it was a period of drought. i think the little ice age was going on, and the indian people had very little corn. and how did this drought affect the jamestown settlement? and number two, i want to comment on the indian people. you're close to two indian communities at jamestown and charles city/county, the chickahominy, over 1,000 people, and the settlement of jamestown and their ancestors. have the indian descendants been involved? do you get feedback, participation, from the indian people there in the community? thank you so much. >> well, i can speak to the second question first. and that, yeah, there's much
interaction with our project and the current united tribes. in fact, today there are some members of the tribes on the site demonstrating, and some in the original dress of the virginia indians. so they're as interested in what we are finding here and we find a lot of artifacts that were traditionally inside the fort. so, we know that it wasn't one of those cases where the indians were on one side of the palisade and the settlers were on the inside. there was interaction going on, no question about that. and the first question, again -- >> he was talking about a period of drought. he talked about drought. >> oh, drought. you want to take that? >> well, yes, he's referring to the scientific evidence, boring of cypress trees that has shown
that there was drought between the years of 1606 and 1612, the worst drought in almost one thousand years. we feel that it kind of explains some things. that maybe it explains why things fell apart so quickly, that there was stress in the environment, stress on the indian community, stress on the animals. there weren't so many animals running around on the island. so it was something the english did not understand not having been here. and it kind of explains a lot of the friction that evolved. >> and add to that is that they had a problem with the water as well. the drier it is, then the higher the salt content goes up. the saltwater goes further inland and jamestown is where the salt and the fresh come together. it's called brackish water. but in a drought time it would be very salty and that was poisoning them we think, too.
>> was there ever any other settlement after the original settlement ended there? >> didn't end. >> this is the first permanent english settlement in america. so there's still -- you know, it's still occupied. >> it was a colonial capital for almost 100 years. >> that spot in particular, did they come back to the spot on the tip of the island there? >> we have remains of buildings that were built after the middle of the 17th century right in the fort. they're in the fort but they're not part of the fort. we do find artifacts that date later, in later use. but most of it became the churchyard. so, that's where -- what we have there are burials. >> it devolved into agriculture, so it was all planted in corn. thank goodness, because john smith has proclaimed this is a very fine place to erect a great city. but if it had been, we would not have the archaeological
resources to find. >> we'll go to san diego next for gene. go ahead -- howard, in san diego. i'm sorry. >> caller: yes, hi. thank you for taking my call. i had a question about any linkage of george washington or the washington family to jamestown and the area. i know his grandfather came over in the early or 1720s or 1730s, john augustine washington, and i see small towns named washington. of course, it was a common name in virginia and northern north carolina. i've also read something somewhere and i'm not sure here but that perhaps some washington family relatives came over earlier. do you have any information on that? >> not that i know of. not at all. at jamestown we don't. they settled northern -- the
northern part of virginia, on the rappahannock and the potomac, in the 18th century, where there was vacant land. >> we have another caller in california. this is ronnie, go ahead. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. dr. kelso, when did cremation start in the united states and should it be banned? >> your question was about cremation, sir? >> i don't know when -- i don't know. >> should it be banned? >> well, as an archaeologist i think people get cheated in the future by not being able to study skeletal remains. i do. i don't know about banning, but maybe making sure that some people get buried traditionally would be a good thing. >> with lots of rapiers, right? >> yes.
with lots of rapiers. >> we were fortunate to have a tour with you and a tour group as you led our cameras through the settlement there, bill kelso and bly straube, and we got to go into the lab there. how often do you both personally get to take students or groups through the site? >> it seems continually. every day that's some kind of a tour that crops up if i'm out here. but we also have a scheduled tour the first and third tuesday of every month through november, which is called "in the trenches." this is by -- make an appointment and there's a fee and i personally take people around the site on those days. and we have another tour for the collections. don't we? >> we have new philadelphia, ohio, is next and jason, you're on the air.
>> caller: [ inaudible ] >> jason, speak up. i can't hear your question. go ahead. >> caller: what happened to the [ inaudible ] tribe? do they still exist? >> it was a question about what happened to the tribe. >> the pallatan? >> yes. >> right. there are groups called the united tribes of virginia. there are i believe eight. and they are descendants on reservations, one of the oldest reservations in the country. so, they're still here as they say. >> we had a caller earlier ask about the lost colony in north carolina, some recent news that they may have discovered a map or indication of a fort on a map in the british museum in looking at it. bly straube, has anybody done any excavations in that area? >> we have done some preliminary survey of the area and found
some interesting hints of early artifacts, 16th century. possibly. and so we have plans to revisit the area very, very soon. >> how much are both of you involved or in contact with your british colleagues on early colonial or precolonial history? >> well, we both have, you know. >> we're both fellows of the society of antiquaries. you have to be elected to join, an honorary english society, british society. it's very old. 200 years old -- 400 years old. i have colleagues -- >> much of the records, are much of the records kept in the uk? are there good records about jamestown, for example? >> well, yeah. most of them are known and have
been looked at. and we have transcriptions of them. but, you know, there's always a surprise discovery like we were talking about, the lost colony map. we actually have studied another map in the british museum. it shows -- really shows that the fort -- the actual fort where we found it was already -- that location had been put on a map by a mapmaker in 1608 and no one had recognized that that was really, you know, pinpointing the site. >> hear from our callers again. oxford, mississippi, joanne, hello. >> caller: good afternoon. i'm enjoying this enormously. i saw the exhibition at the smithsonian called "written in bone," and it was one of the most fascinating things i've ever seen. i noticed you showed the captain gosnold reproduction. the one that really captured my imagination, you had a video of a woman and there was an
interpretive reconstruction of a woman who would walk away from you in the video. you would see how you started with her skeleton and then the forensic reproduction. she walked with a limp. it was stunning. it was stunning. and i was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about who you think she was and the other reproduction was of the head of a woman who was believed to be a slave and you determined that based on the shape of her back which would have been bent in such a way over years and years of literally back-breaking labor. if you could tell us about those people, i'd really love to hear it. >> those individuals actually aren't from our site. they're from other 17th century sites in virginia. so, we don't really know particulars about them.
but it is a fascinating exhibit. just to learn -- to see what you can learn from skeletal material. and we understand it's been extremely popular. >> that caller mentioned being fascinated by the video. over the 20 years that you've been working at jamestown, what's been the biggest technological leap that has helped your work there? for both of you? >> well, technological. it's just the geographic information system. the fact that we can record in three dimensions where we find something, you know, at the depth and the location in the fort. and all that information we can put in photographs and catalog material from the artifact finds. it can be so accessible at one computer. to me it's just a marvel. i started out with pencil and paper and that was our high technology 50 years ago in archaeology. but this is just astounding. and without it we would be
really hard put to keep track of all the thousands of pieces of data that come out. >> next caller is bill in lakewood, colorado. bill? >> caller: yeah, dr. kelso, this is bill hughes and i wanted to thank you for what you did. i was stationed at ft. houston back in 1966. and i spent many weekends trying to find jamestown. and i was totally amazed that it wasn't -- couldn't find it. that's one. two, i did find in the church in williamsburg, i did find george washington's grandmother. i was doing some rubbings on the old -- so, i don't know if it's true or not, but i was always, you know, i have a picture of that gravestone. i was really enthusiastic. but i want to thank you. you really filled a big void in my life.
>> well, i'm glad we could find jamestown finally, that's good. >> bill kelso's book "jamestown the buried truth" if you want some further details -- if you can't get to the site or you've been there and you want more information, the book "jamestown, the buried truth." next up is bridgeport, ohio. hello, lou, go ahead. lou, make sure you mute the television, turn down your set there, and go ahead with your question for bill kelso or bly straube. i'm going to put you on hold, lou. bill kelso, we just showed your book, "the buried truth." how long did that one take you to write? >> well, it came out in '06. so, it's always -- it's always in production, really, and a revision, too. i'm working on a revision of that because we found so much since '06. but that basically tells the
story the way i saw it. and, i mean, it was -- since we started the project in 1994, i guess you could say it took 12 years. >> the caller a few minutes ago calling and saying he was in 1966 trying to find jamestown. do you find a lot of amateur archaeologists telling you much of the same thing? >> no. i've kind of thought what he was saying it's so confusing here because there's other types of jamestowns around here. and the signs are just everywhere, and it's confusing for a visitor to come in. that may be what he was up against. >> let's try lou in bridgeport, ohio. go ahead. >> caller: yes. i thank you for taking my call. i was wondering, it's -- all this talk about the colonists and settlers in jamestown, but i was wondering how it affected the indians, natural inhabitants of the area, when the settlers came to jamestown. thank you.
>> i didn't get that question. >> i didn't either. >> that caller was on the impact of the indian culture, the native american culture, you touched on that a little bit on the artifacts you found there. but more broadly what was the impact of the english settlement there? >> well, ultimately, the population was minimize to have had virginia indians. they were given reservations ultimately. but immediately in the first contact, there was evidence of friendship and there was evidence of violence. so it's hard to just make one generalization about the impact of the two cultures on each other immediately. my view was that the indians were although they far
outnumbered the colonists, 15,000 to 104 to begin with, they still saw iron coming in, they saw guns, they saw boats, sailing boats, that that technology would be useful to them. so i think they let jamestown survive. they could have wiped it out, but they let it survive because of the fact that this could -- technologically enhance their own world, you know, the empire really and help them against their enemies. >> here's deerfield, massachusetts. todd, your question or comment? >> caller: yes. first off, thank you for taking my call. dr. kelso, this is a question for you. the martins 100 site that was discovered by ivernol hume, how much overlap is there between your project and the project that iver did? and did he have any interest, i'm sure he did, in coming to your site and seeing what was
going on as well? >> yes, in fact, he was on an advisory board for the first year here. and he kind of pointed to the first place to dig, as a matter of fact, in the beginning. first place to dig, as a matter of fact, in the beginning and had quite an impact on us. now, how did it relate to martin's hundred? it dates to 1690 i believe. i worked on that too in the survey years ago with him. and so that existed down river. it's probably six, eight miles away and was a particular -- we call it a particular plantation. a new way that the virginia company was settling virginia. and jamestown was the seat of the government. so that would have been representatives from that area in the first representative assembly. there was always some kind of connection.
then it went on to be a plantation during the 17 the century. >> how far is the original historic jamestown from the current seat of government, richmond? how far down the james river? >> 50 miles. i guess 50. >> sebring, florida next up. georgian. >> go ahead. >> georgiann. go ahead. sebri sebring, florida. >> caller: i was fortunate enough to bring my children from the ipswich and felixville area to virginia. so they got to see where the settlers came from versus where they were coming to. and they knew that they lived in big mansions in england and over here we were living in mud huts. and i would also like to know if you are checking around in gloucester around paul tench chimney where chief potench had
his home. and if so are you -- >> no. well, at another site. excuse me. at another site where rakamiko was was really where pawatan was when the settlers came in. it's some distance from the pawatan chimney. that i think is legendary more than real, that that was wherever -- that that was a page powhatan location at all. >> here's los angeles and carrie. go ahead. >> caller: yes. i was wondering if you've done any excavating in the water where the portion of the fort goes out into the water. >> no, we haven't because of the fact the fort is nine feet above the bottom of the river, right next -- at the shoreline.
so anything that -- so that level is the level of 1607. so anything that was left from the fort that is in a context above nine feet would be washed away, gone. there's just nothing that could be out there except for the very bottom of a well. the only part missing is about a 17% pie-shaped piece of the fort that did wash away before asea wall was put down to protect -- to stop the erosion. >> how easy is it to dig? it looks like kind of sandy soil from our video. >> yes, it is sandy soil. trouble is when it dries out it becomes like concrete. so it's tough. and the real problem here is -- the best time we can excavate is during the summer. students are available from field schools.
we have one every year. that's also when things heat up around here. so it is a very, very tough, physically challenging operation. >> couple more calls here. lansing, michigan. hi to liz. you're on the air. >> caller: thanks for taking my call. i visited jamestown 30 years ago. and just from watching your program it looks like the development, the research has come much further along than what i had seen. but at the time it was in a small private tour company, and the tour guide at the time said that some of the settlers from jamestown, they were seeking people from eastern europe, specifically like poland, to come and work in glassworking or glassmaking and because of the forests in the area that would have allowed the settlers to build the fires they needed to work the sand to make it into glass. i'm of polish descent. and i've always wondered if that was true or not. is there anything to that from
what the tour guide told me 30 years ago? >> yes, we mow from the historical documentation that both individuals from poland and from germany were brought to make glass and to make pitch and tar and soap ashes, which was a commodity very much in demand in england and expensive to produce because of the lack of forests. and we have found lots and lots of evidence of the glassmaking in the fort. it appears that before they built the glass house off the island they actually were working in the fort to make their trials of glass. so we have all these crucibles and cullette, which is used glass brought to make new glass within our fort contexts. >> let's go to columbia, maryland and alice. alicia. hi there. >> caller: thank you. good afternoon. could you kindly give us the names of those i think you call
them united tribes? and then also could you please answer my question, are these tribes recognized by the state? and then also are they also recognized by the u.s. government? thank you very much. >> okay. i can try to name them. there's upper and lower chickhomnee. panunki. >> monakan. >> that's fine at least. and -- but we worked primarily with panunki, matapanai, and some chikahonnee. and they are not federally recognized. i believe they are state recognized. >> they are recognized by the state. >> yeah, state rogds. >> and there are descendants of those tribes still living in the
area? >> yeah. >> yes. there are some out here today, as a matter of fact. >> here's new orleans, and we say hello to eads. hi. >> caller: yes. wonderful program. a very quick statement. my mom's family always claimed they descended from a jamestown captain, a captain harris. my question specifically is what political authority would have granted military commissions to these early militia captains at that jamestown colony? >> well, that's a very good question. there is -- the whole operation was run by what was called the virginia company. but the crown had sort of last
say in whatever they did. and they -- when the first resident governor came over, he appointed a lot of men to various positions. so i think it's from the crown to the company to the -- their rank, what they would have as far as military men. do you know, bly? >> i don't know when harris was here. but it really depends on the time. >> yeah. >> because 1624 virginia company lost their charter. so. became a royal company. so. >> before we wrap up with phone callers, one twitter question. a tweet from tracy, who asks, "is there a specific piece of information or an artifact that you hope to find?" >> i know what you want. >> yeah. i take a lot of heat for this. we haven't found a complete cannon yet. and that's up there.
>> we found the muzzle of one. but that's not good enough for him. >> not good enough. >> it blew up when it was fired. >> bly-s there an artifact that you'd like to find? >> go ahead. you go. >> oh, goodness gracious. you know, we have almost found everything you can imagine from straight pens to guns. i love them all. that's a hard question for me. >> here's williamsburg, virginia. jeff, go ahead with your comment or question. >> caller: hi, dr. kelso. i met you and the curator a couple years ago. my name is jeff. my question is from 1607 to 1699, and i understand that a lot of the records burned, but there were quite a number of ships that arrived in jamestown, probably 100 or 1,000. is there any detailed book that you used in your research that describes those ships arriving and possibly who was on