A group of archaeologists in Jamestown, Virginia, is busy doing the opposite of what one would normally expect: building something new, rather than searching for what once was. Popular Archaeology reports that an effort is underway to rebuild a potion of the church where Pocahontas wed John Rolfe in 1614 (an event that Smithsonian notes established "eight years of peace between the colonists and the Powhatan Indians"). The discovery of its footprint was announced in fall 2010; Archaeology, which branded it one of the top 10 discoveries of the year, reported that archaeologists came upon it while looking for men's barracks. Historic records describe the 1608 church as 60 feet long, and "it didn't take a mathematical genius" to figure out the significance of the five postholes found at 12-foot increments, said Historic Jamestowne Director of Archaeology Bill Kelso.
"Now we can actually point to the spot where Pocahontas got married," added Kelso at the time. Soon, visitors will be able to stand in that very spot. As Senior Staff Archaeologist Dave Givens explains in the site's Dig Updates blog, "Our intention here is not to recreate the entire church but give some notion of the space, so that when people are standing inside the church they can understand what the walls would have looked like." Though the colonists built a structure with mud walls, the archaeologists are using one modern ingredient in their walls: a fiberglass-containing concrete that will add stability and, therefore, safety. The blog post notes the site bears the "oldest remnants of a church structure yet found in an English colony in North America." (In 2013 it was announced that another Pocahontas site would be preserved for eternity.)