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Archaeology Opening Day at Historic Jamestowne (Williamsburg)

April 1, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Explore America’s Birthplace and discover the stories of Jamestown!

Join us to celebrate the beginning of the Archaeology season at Jamestown! Since 1994, when archaeologists discovered the remains of James Fort, archaeology has revealed the extensive and complex history of Virginia Indians, Europeans, and Africans who lived and worked on the island. Explore this history and more on Archaeology Opening Day.

Archaeology Opening Day events are included with admission. In the event of bad weather, programs will be moved indoors to the Archaearium or Memorial Church.


All Day Events

James Fort: the Birthplace of America – visit the archaeological site of the 1607 James Fort

The Buried Truth: Archaeology in Action – Share in the moment of discovery at the original 1607 James Fort. Meet Jamestown archaeologists and learn about ongoing excavations and the latest discoveries, including the ‘flag’ feature and a newly uncovered well. At James Fort. (Weather Permitting)

In the Footsteps of Democracy – Visit the Memorial Church and see the re-interpretation of the site’s original 1617-18 church and its foundations – which was the meeting place for the first representative government in English America. Stand on the exact spot where the first General Assembly was held in 1619 and where our nation’s democracy began. At the Memorial Church.

From Fort to Port: Legacies of 1619 – Explore the tobacco boom in Virginia, Jamestown’s development from a fort to a port, as well as the exploitation of Africans, Virginia Indians, and indentured servants in this new gallery exhibit at the Natalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium Museum.


Activities & Living History: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Ed Shed: Family-Oriented Archaeology – The Ed Shed is an educational space for children and adults alike. Come join the archaeology team and experience the moment of discovery as we sort through artifacts from a 1630-1650s trash pit. The Ed Shed is located outside the west wall of the 1607 Fort, near the Hunt Shrine.

Native Lifeways of the Chesapeake – Meet Dan Firehawk Abbott of the Nanticoke people of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and learn about the material culture and life ways of the Tidewater Algonquians and their interactions with the settlers of Jamestown. At James Fort.

Forged in History – Blacksmithing was one of the earliest trades to be practiced at Jamestown. Join Blacksmith Shel Browder for demonstrations and a discussion of the types of work that went on at the site of the original James Fort Forge. At James Fort

“Pales, posts, and railes” – Building a fort proved a necessity for the colonists within a month of their 1607 arrival. Carpenter Danny Whitten will demonstrate the tools and methods used by the first colonists to build everything from the fort walls to the buildings. At James Fort.

Hoops and Staves” – Join cooper Marshall Scheetz as he demonstrates traditional methods and tools in creating buckets, barrels and casks. While the technology of making wooden storage containers has existed for over 3,000 years, casks were once used to transport precious cargo such as wine, beer, tobacco, sugar, and salt. And every household had a need for wooden buckets and tubs. At James Fort.

A New Life in the New World – Learn first-hand about the trials of the first English settlers and their experiences exploring the Chesapeake from Anas Todkill, one of the settlers that explored the bay with Capt. John Smith. At James Fort.


Special Tours

Archaeology Walking Tour of James Fort – Join an archaeologist for an in-depth tour of the 1607 fort site and learn about this season’s excavations and new discoveries. Offered at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. At the Tercentennial Monument.


Historic Jamestowne, Colonial National Historic Park
1368 Colonial Parkway
Jamestown, VA 23801 United States
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