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Find Made at Jamestown May Be a Significant One

Archaeologists suspect they may have found George Yeardley's remains
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2018 8:25 AM CDT
Updated Jul 29, 2018 7:03 AM CDT
This skull does not belong to the remains in question but is that of a woman that was recovered from the Jamestown dig site in Jamestown, Va., Tuesday, April 10, 2018.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(Newser) – "Who got such a prominent burial in the church?" It's the question archaeologists believe they know the answer to, though only time—and DNA analysis—will tell. Scientists working in Jamestown, Va., have unearthed remains they suspect might belong to Sir George Yeardley, the first governor of Virginia, one of the Colonies' first big slaveholders, and the man who established the first representative assembly in the New World, reports the BBC. The grave, found where one of Jamestown's first churches stood, immediately piqued the archaeologists' interest. At 3-feet-wide, the grave shaft was 50% wider than the graves previously found in the church, reports the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, leading them to suspect it was no usual burial.

Smithsonian reports there are indications they're on the right track: Yeardley died in 1627 at age 39; the skeleton belongs to a man of that age, the condition of the grave suggests it was dug before the church was deconstructed in 1639, and the grave's position in the church's central aisle means someone of prominence was likely buried there. The process of unearthing the remains began by using high-frequency ground-penetrating radar, which detected a headless skeleton with a number of teeth; the teeth were discovered to fit into a skull that had been discovered nearby in 2017. The researchers hope to have the final word on whether they've found Yeardley by the middle of next year. (Jamestown archaeologists have also been on the hunt for another prominent man's bones.)

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