Old Well May Delve Into US History

A magazine calls the find 'tantalizing'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2015 3:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – Archaeologists in Jamestown—the first permanent English settlement in the Americas—say they may have found another well that delves deep into US colonial history, Popular Archaeology reports. Spotted in a seven-foot-deep cellar dating to the early 1600s, the partially visible find is "a pretty good-sized pit," says Danny Schmidt, who leads the project at the historic southern Virginia site: "Why else would you have a pit within a [cellar] unless you were going for water?" he asks. "Because it’s only a few more feet before you hit the water table." The find is "tantalizing," the magazine says, because previously discovered wells were used for refuse by Jamestown residents and turned up items like belt buckles, body armor, and broken pottery.

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The find was made in a 22-by-14-foot structure built just outside the James Fort's original palisade, while colonists were overhauling the fort into a design with five sides. Big fragments of a Bartmann jug (common in that era) and dice made from bone have already turned up in the structure, adding to the million-plus artifacts found in Jamestown since 1994, the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily reports. Now a tourist attraction with museum, Jamestown offers an area where visitors can sort through artifacts for the first time. Guests can also look around a current excavation pit using virtual-reality goggles or handle artifact replicas created by a 3D printer at the site, the Daily reports. "You see their faces, the wow factor with the 3D printed artifacts," says a Jamestown manager. "It’s the best tool for public archaeology." (Read about mummified remains found in Indiana.)

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