By William M. Kelso, University of Virginia Press; $29.95
In preparation for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Va., in 1607, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities launched a new archeological investigation to find traces of James Fort, once thought lost to the encroaching James River, and to offer insight, through the interplay of historical documents and archeological finds, about the daily life and significant accomplishments of these courageous settlers.
Head archeologist Kelso diligently records the process of archeological discovery and recovery that provided clues confirming the complexity of the famous settlement that spawned the American dream. Dispelling misconceptions that the high mortality rate resulted from ineptitude and laziness, findings produce evidence of industriousness in the face of many challenges such as climate, impure water, disease, starvation, accidents and natives. Uncovered artifacts analyzed with modern technology, such as computer manipulation, and X-ray, chemical and DNA analysis, illustrate the process by which these Englishmen and –women began to transform themselves into self-governing Americans.