View Full Version : Remains of English Jamestown colony leaders discovered

Jean M
07-28-2015, 06:32 PM
Remains of English Jamestown colony leaders discovered

Scientists say they have identified the remains of four men who were among the early leaders of Virginia's Jamestown settlement. Jamestown was the first successful British colony that gave rise to modern day America. The bodies were exhumed in November 2013 in the church where Pocahontas married Captain John Rolfe in 1614. It took two years of detective work and the latest scientific techniques to identify the badly-preserved bones. It's now known that they were important figures between 1607 and 1610 when the colony almost collapsed.

"We have two men from the first expedition of 1607 and two men from the second expedition that saved Jamestown and English America in 1610. So it's highly significant in terms of understanding the success of Jamestown and its survival as an English colony in the New World." The bodies were found in the church's chancel, indicating that they were people of great status in the community. Using physical evidence at the site, analysis of the bones and extensive historical research, scientists narrowed the search down to these four men.

Captain Gabriel Archer
Sir Ferdinando Wainman
Captain William West
Reverend Robert Hunt

There is still more research to be done and genetic analysis may even help trace living descendants of the men.

07-28-2015, 09:09 PM
See also Jamestown excavation unearths four bodies — and a mystery in a small box (http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/jamestown-excavation-unearths-four-bodies-%E2%80%94-and-a-mystery-in-a-small-box/ar-AAdBwpl?ocid=mailsignout) from the "Washington Post", added 1 hr ago on their website.
I like that they were able to identify all the remains. I wonder what the bones in the reliquary will reveal when tested.

07-28-2015, 10:18 PM
I love the Jamestown site and, not too far away, Colonial Williamsburg. This is an exciting discovery.

Here's my youngest daughter Anna at Jamestown for the 400th anniversary in the summer of 2007.


07-28-2015, 10:45 PM
This is from earlier this summer, it's the church excavation with the "newer" Old Church in the background

10-30-2017, 03:16 AM
The Washington Post ran a new article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/experts-have-uncovered-remains-at-americas-first-permanent-colony-but-whose-bones-are-they/2017/10/26/6ceaa0c4-b446-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html) and a video (https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/local/archaeologists-dig-for-remains-of-lord-de-la-warr/2017/10/26/8f7508a8-ba97-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_video.html) on this dig this week - the new findings mentioned are different than the ones mentioned in the 2015 articles. It appears that the team working on the dig believes that they may have found the remains of Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_West,_3rd_Baron_De_La_Warr).

The work began months ago and could extend into next summer. The theory is that Lord De La Warr, who died in 1618, was the first person buried in what was then a brand-new church. So his remains could be at the very bottom of the grave layers, Kelso said. The lord was in his 40s when he died, and the anthropologists can often deduce the age of bones through examination.

The archaeologists will look for any remnants or outline of a specially shaped “anthropoid” coffin that would have been accorded an aristocrat. Other such coffins have been found at Jamestown. And scientific tests can be conducted on the bones. Relatives of De La Warr have been found at Jamestown. The Smithsonian has been trying to glean DNA from their bones. If the effort is successful, that DNA could be compared with DNA taken from the lord’s bones.

10-30-2017, 04:40 AM
I have a number of unexplained DNA matches with people in Virginia and North Carolina who claim "all" their ancestry in America goes back to the 1600's and early 1700's. Unfortunately they don't seem to have done any significant "Y" testing.
Whether they are right about their ancestry I don't know but I do have quite a few matches in these States. I think there was "A Welshman" mentioned amongst the Jamestown group but no name given.