W4 Archaeology in the News

The article I read was called, “Archaeologists Identify Bodies of Lost Leaders of Jamestown” in the National Geographic by Mark Strauss. In the article it discuss how the founders of the first British Settlement in America were discovered under a church that was built in 1608 where Pocahontas got married. In discuss in previous lectures archaeologists learn the culture and traditions of the surrounding people. Archaeologists learned that burial in the chancel is traditionally reserved for important people. Therefore, they discovered the bodies in 2010 and excavated them in 2013. The four people that were discovered was Reverend Robert Hunt, Captain Gabriel Archer, Sir Ferdinando Wainman, and Captain William West. Approximately 30 percent of the skeleton were still intact. As discussed in lectures artifacts that are found in homes and graves can tell you the status of that family or person. Also the way you are buried. For instance when archaeologists had found Archer’s body he was buried with a captains leading staff. Which is only carried by high-ranking British officers. For Reverend Robert Hunt’s religious rituals was evident in the manner he was buried. His body was wrapped in a simple shroud instead of being placed in a coffin. Also part of his tradition he was interred facing toward his congregation. Chemical tests of Sir Ferdinando Wainman’s bones revealed that he had been exposed to high levels of lead. This is an indication of his wealth and stature, since lead was present in pewter and glazed wares of the era. Captain William West was actually related to Wainman. Therefore he had high traces of lead in his bones too. Archaeologists also found decay remains of a military leaders sash over the skeleton chest area.

One thought on “W4 Archaeology in the News

  1. I find your post on this article interesting because I have learned a lot about Jamestown in the past. It is amazing that archaeologist learned that burial was reserved for important individuals because that has also led to a lot of other excavations. All of the items found on or with the skeletons can really tell us a lot about the culture in the past and also the specific individual when they were alive. I wonder if lead may have been something that maybe sped up the death of these individuals…? Even though they were quite wealthy, this means they would have been surrounded by a lot of lead at the time without knowing how bad it was for the body.

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