David Givens, Senior Staff Archaeologist with the Jamestown Rediscovery Archaeological Project, will present a program called “Lost and Found: Rediscovering America’s Birthplace,” in Broyhill Chapel, on the campus of Mars Hill College, February 27 at 7 pm.
The Jamestown Rediscovery Archaeological Project is an ongoing archaeological excavation at Jamestown Island, Virginia, the first permanent English colony in North America. Excavations began at the site in 1994 with the hopes of finding some evidence of the original 1607 James Fort, which for over two centuries was believed to have been lost to river shoreline erosion. Today, archaeologists have discovered much of the fortification and have recovered over a million artifacts that tell the true story of Jamestown.
Givens, an alumnus of Mars Hill College, has worked in association with the project from its beginning and has been a full-time member of the team since 2001. His upcoming lecture will describe the project’s history as well as its most recent, exciting discoveries. Those recent discoveries include excavation of the 1608 church at the fort which is thought to be the first Anglican church in the New World, where, famously, European settler John Ross and Pocahontas, daughter of the Algonquian chief Powhatan, were married.
Givens will also share how modern techniques like computer digital mapping help archaeologists reconstruct the site and catalog its thousands of artifacts. Other new techniques, like DNA mapping, help archaeologists understand numerous aspects of the settlers’ lives, including the diseases they suffered, and the diet they ate.
According to Givens, the discoveries on Jamestown Island are fascinating, but they have other, far-reaching implications.
“Jamestown is our nation’s birthplace, and this excavation gives us a connection to the real, live human beings who went before us,” Givens said. “This project is, in a very tangible way, a rediscovery of the birthplace of our culture. Through that rediscovery, we gain a greater sense of our collective past, regardless of race or ethnicity, and we also learn about ourselves today and our place in the world.”
The program at Mars Hill College is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the MHC president’s office, the MHC History program, and Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies. Mars Hill College is a private, liberal arts institution offering over 30 baccalaureate degrees and one graduate degree in elementary education. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina.www.mhc.edu 1-866-MHC-4-YOU.