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Size of Jamestown Fort Is Determined

Archeologists unearth more of historic site in Virginia in an attempt to recreate the town plan.

August 30, 2003|From Associated Press

Seven years after archeologists discovered evidence of the fort built when Jamestown, Va., was founded in 1607, they finally know how big the triangle-shaped log enclosure was.

Based on the finding in 1996 of the fort's east corner and on historical documents, archeologists had been searching for the outlines of a fort that covered 1.75 acres, said William Kelso of the Assn. for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.

Digging this summer unearthed evidence of the fort's western wall and north corner, defining the fort's shape for the first time and indicating the fort actually enclosed 1.1 acres, Kelso said at Historic Jamestowne.

"Now we know exactly how to approach the excavation" of the first permanent English settlement in America, Kelso said. "We can connect the dots."

The goal is to analyze the interior to learn more about the architecture and come up with a town plan.

Archeologists already have found the remains of what appear to be barracks, but there should also be a church and storeroom near the center, as well as other public buildings and wells, Kelso said.

Jamestown began as a business venture when three ships carrying 100 men and four boys landed on a small island on the James River in 1607. During the winter of 1609-10, according to written accounts, many settlers died from starvation, disease and Indian attacks.

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