tv [untitled] June 1, 2012 1:30am-2:00am EDT
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 those ships during that time period? >> it's -- well, to my experience it's scattered in the records. there's no comprehensive list that i know of. >> they're not complete either. yeah. there are some passenger lists. but unfortunately, no one's compiled it all. >> yeah, it wouldn't have survived. >> one more comment here. a question from lisa in sacramento, california. hey. >> caller: hi. i had heard that john rolf was the one responsible for bringing tobacco growing in virginia. and i was just wondering if that was true or not. thanks. >> yes. in fact, we believe that he was
inspired by the time he was ship wrekd wreked in bermuda, which occurred between 1609 and 1610. he spent ten months in bermuda. where they found tobacco growing when they shipwrecked there. so it seems to me and others as well that he spent that time working with the tobacco. we also found a couple of tobacco pipes made out of bermuda limestone that were probably made to smoke john rolf's tobacco on bermuda. and then, you know, he continued his work once he arrived here. we even found a tobacco seed down a well. which is pretty cool because they're microscopic. they're very hard to see. >> well, we want to thank both of you. bly straube, senior curator, and bill kelso, the director of the jamestown rediscovery archaeological project, for spending the last hour and more with american history tv and taking our viewers' and callers' comments. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> we did too.
>> thanks. on may 14th, 1607, 104 english settlers landed at jamestown island, virginia to establish a college nu for the virginia company. the location served as the capital of virginia until 1699. thought to be lost to history forever under the james river, the original fort was unearthed in 1994 by the jamestown rediscovery archaeological project. we visited jamestown to learn how the story of the 1607 settlers is being revealed every day through the study of artifacts. >> my name is bly straube. i'm a senior curator for the jamestown rediscovery project. and that's a project that started in 1994. it's a project of preservation virginia. the first statewide historic preservation organization in the united states. it is confuse iing that there a so many jamestowns. and many people visit jamestown, and it turns out that they never went to the real place, the place where all the history
happened. so there's a jamestown that's a living history museum, jamestown settlement, and they interpret jamestown, and they have three wonderful ships. and they've reconstructed a fort and an indian village. and they have a huge museum over there. that is a state-run organization. so they get state funding for that. then the island itself, the original site of jamestown, is co-managed by the national park service and preservation virginia. so it's an unusual private-public partnership that goes on here. the park service owns the majority of the island, 1,500 acres. preservation virginia has around 23. but their 23 acres incorporates the site of the original fort. the church. the church tower. and the last government building that was on the property. so they've got a lot of history
condensed in that 23 acres. and it's the -- it's preservation virginia then who are doing the archaeology that visitors will see on the site today. we call our project jamestown rediscovery. so we're the jamestown rediscovery project of preservation virginia. we do not get federal support and we do not get state support for our work. so we're highly reliant on donatio donations. visitors coming because we get half of the gate receipts on visitors coming through. and grants. and that's how we survive. and it's hard in these times. this site is incredibly rich. it's just amazing. and we've been walking over the material all these years. it's been under our feet. when everyone was saying the fort was out in the river. i mean, it's just astounding
that there's so much material. and i thought about why. for one thing there was so much death in the early years and sickness. and i think a lot of things just got thrown away because they didn't belong to people. they sort of were objects, possessions without a possessor. and they just -- and people just didn't have the strength or willpower to do much of anything. we find a lot of like lead thrown away that could have been remelted and reused, recycled. and it wasn't. just tossed out. i think that's one reason. i think the fort itself, being a protective barrier, maintained a lot of trash within its perimeter. there didn't seem to be any orchestrated efforts to wheelbarrow the trash out and toss it in the river or anything. it just seems to have collected inside the fort.
and then there were periodic cleanup periods and rebuilding efforts when new governors came in, for instance. and then things would get dumped into old wells or old holes to fill them in. so i think that also contributed to it. but yeah, it's a wonderful, wonderful site. we have ceramics from all over the world. and this is really reflecting how cosmopolitan london is in the early 17th century and how connected it was to the rest of the world. to the merchants of the world. the hensiotic league. it's not representing these different countries trading direct directly with jamestown. some of the objects are personal possessions. and a lot of our gentlemen would have access to these exotic wares from other places. even though they were coming to settle a very uninhabited and
lonely place, unconnected with any society really, they were bringing their best materials to eat from and to drink from. we've got facon de venice glass and chinese porcelain. you can see some of that porcelain that they're bringing. so it's really a different picture of jamestown than one would expect. it's rather wealthy in some regards. colorful. we've got professions like jewelers sitting in the fort and making jewelry. i mean, not all was death and dying and killing indians. we find a lot of their leisure time activities. lots and lots of gaming dice. and chess pieces and backgammon pieces. musical instruments. so it's from all sort of facets of their life being reflected
here. people visiting historic jamestown have the opportunity to come in and look up close at the artifacts. they have to sign up. it's called a curator's tour. and we give them the whole orientation, what we do with artifacts behind closed doors. so it's a unique opportunity to get an up close look. and they can ask questions. they can even at times touch 400-year-old artifacts. you know, things that john smith may have used. so i think it's a pretty enriching experience for visitors. we only bring ten people through at a time, keep the group really small, so that it's a better experience for everybody. the park itself, once you come through the gate, you can wander the entire grounds. you can see the archaeology going on. we have a museum on site. it's called the archierium.
and it is full of about 1,000 artifacts all the from the ex a excavatio excavations. everything you see in there is from excavations we've been doing since 1984. it's a unique place. there aren't that many archaeological museums in existence. that's free as well. you can sign up for a special tour if you like with our director, dr. william kelso, and that's called the in the trenches tour. that's a little extra. and he takes you under the ropes. so you get an up close and personal look from his perspective. >> how could something so precious in american history and virginia history have been sort of lost for hundreds of years? >> that's an interesting question. i think it wasn't lost for probably the first 100. but nobody mentioned -- you know, they didn't talk about it. at least any documents that survived. we don't know if it's in there. and then there were travelers that came in here. it was a tremendous erosion on the west end of the island. and they said i can see remains
of the fort being washed into the river. i read that about a week before i started. i went, oh, no. so then it became just the story agreed upon. and i think then there was also a confederate earthwork here. a large earthen mound was all over most of what we found, the fort site. not right here but very close. and so there was no clue in the landscape that this was anything but this civil war fort. on a site like this there are periods and eras and time changes. this is -- was built in the civil war fort as a bombproof or a bomb shelter for the confederate troops. confederate forces built this fort as a good position on the river to set up their big guns to stop the union from coming up
the river. and they built things where they could hunker down in case they were shelled. and what you're seeing here, if you look closely, there's some wood even surviving. this was built as a below-ground wood room. and then on top they mounded, and we've taken that off, but they've mounded at least six feet of clay. so that that would absorb the impact of shells coming. so it would be bombproof. this is only about a third of it. it goes all the way back. you can see there's a hilltop beyond that black plastic, and then there's a profile through another part of a room. the reason we ex-cavated this i this is the 150th anniversary of the civil war. so it also gives a perspective of the jamestown period. you know, it's just not one 1607 period here. it's all of these different components. and so we've learned something about the civil war for it. but we also learned about -- if
you come around over to here, i'll try ton get in your way. wait. just stand right here just for a second. i'm going to be right back. so this is a great example of a fort on a fort. this dark area is the palisade line from 1607 that we found everywhere, all the way around. we found it in the first year down along the river. and it's just darker soil. i think you can see there's dark soil here, and there's even some darker circular impressions where the upright logs had disintegrated. and we've traced that from the river all the way up to here. this is a reconstruction-ish that doesn't go deep enough to
expose this layer. you can't see it in profile. it only goes down to about here. and you see it's a little off. and we did that on purpose because we didn't want to disturb any of the remains that we have not dug. a lot of times we'll just uncover these what we call features and map them for the future and then cover back up. we don't even dig them. we don't have to. so we know that the line was here anyway. but it's good -- this gives you an example of this layer. then when the bombproof was -- when this room was put in, it cuts through. this is gone. from here till you get to the other side. then it picks up again. so fort on a fort, that's the archaeological process. you have to look at these different discolorations and evidence and then get a time sequence by what layer cuts through or disturbs another layer. so you go back in time. the latest disturbance is the latest thing and on down. >> my name is don warmke. i'm one of the archaeologists on staff here. but i do do some conservation in
the lab. basically, we're out there from around the beginning of april through the end of november. we usually are inside like from december through march. once the field season is done, you have all the artifacts that we found during the course of the year that have to be processed. you have the reports to write up. you have things to catalog. we can't always be digging. and then you also have to research the items that you found for any reports that you might have as far as new discoveries. so i spend like 3 1/2 days out in the field and about a day and a half in the lab. >> what are some of the most exciting days or finds that you've had? >> i've been here a little over seven years. so there have been a number of things i've found. but just like last week i was digging -- you're familiar with
a cortiguard? it's one of the post holes there. the post hole, when i was digging it out, i actually locate located a -- what you would call a petrie dish inside the post hole. it was a glass dish about this large and about an inch, inch and a half deep. and it was totally intact. it was one of the only -- i think we had five or six totally intact objects from the site. so it was kind of an exciting find. basically, i'd told a couple people who i thought i had found out there and everybody came out to the site and had kind of a large audience of visitors there. so everybody was around the site as it was taken out, and naturally staff's telling me don't break it, don't break it. >> was that a real concern, breaking it? >> well, initially, when i found it, like i said, it was sitting
in the post hole. and i was uncovering it from the surface. so you could only see the rim. and i thought initially it was probably a piece of copper. copper waist strip. it was only when i had dug this around the side of it it had a depth to it and i realized it was glass. so yeah, i had to be a little bit more careful than -- but it turned out it was a pretty cool piece. >> you heard about the find of this little glass tray. this is really, really exciting. for one thing it's complete. and it's glass. how amazing is that? that it survived 400 years. it would have been clear. you can't see that now because of all the corrosion. but you can just see it a little bit through there. so this came back into the lab, and i did a little research on it. and though i have not found any parallels from other archaeological excavations, i do
believe what we have is a fort -- a 17th century rendition of a petri dish. so if you look right here you can see one. a little glass dish being used to collect something that's being pressed in an alchemal lab where they're doing chemical processing. and this is dating to the late 16th century. you know, they were testing all kinds of materials to try to make a profit for the investors. so this may have been involved with perhaps the medical group who were here looking for plants that could turn into medicines. and to do that you're pounding and mashing and distilling all kinds of leaves and nuts and anything you can get your hands on. roots. and you could easily, you know, make samples into little dishes like this. we would call this a petri dish
today. but julius petri is a 19th century german scientist. this is a little before his time. and on the tables here you can see a lot of native pottery. i am 2349 process of trying to mend those together. with native pottery it's a bit more difficult with them with other wares because the colors don't change too much. so this is the typical native pattern of our indians. it's called simple stamping. so it's a leather wrapped paddle that they're hitting the sides with. sometimes then they smooth that pattern out. so that's a base. a pot there. you can see everything gets numbered. all the little pieces get numbered with the area of the fort where they were found. and that's one of the processes
we do in the lab. and we keep track of those numbers because if one feature should mend to another across the site, that's a very important thing to note. if things from the well mend with things from the ditch. then that means that both those features were open at the same time. so that's an important step. it's called cross-mending. >> hi. i'm mary outlaw. welcome to the laboratory of the jamestown rediscovery archaeological project. the artifacts come in from the field and are stored out here in systematic order until we can process them in our wet laboratory. come on in. this is where we process artifacts. as they come in from the field. we use just basic tools from our local hardware store. colanders and washing tubs. and a variety of brushes including