A 1611 Blockhouse and Earthworks for the Protection of Cattle: Virginia’s Earliest Bovine Husbandry, near Jamestown

Author(s): Alain C. Outlaw

Year: 2017

Summary

From the earliest years of the English colonization of Virginia, Bos taurus played a significant role in settlement as a source of meat, dairy products, and draft power. Following the "Starving Time" winter of 1609/1610, when everything wild and domestic that could be eaten was consumed, including human flesh, on-the-hoof animals, as opposed to barreled beef, entered the colony.  These animals soon were being taken by Native Americans.  Thus, upon his arrival in May 1611, Sir Thomas Dale ordered "…a blockhouse to be raised…to prevent the Indians from killing our cattle…"  The location of this structure and the associated earthworks have been found and investigated on the mainland, one mile north and upriver from Jamestown Island.  Evidence for these landscape features exists in the form of historical sources (cartographic and written documentation) and archaeological finds (subsurface features and material culture). 

Cite this Record

A 1611 Blockhouse and Earthworks for the Protection of Cattle: Virginia’s Earliest Bovine Husbandry, near Jamestown. Alain C. Outlaw. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435279)

Keywords

Temporal Keywords
17th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 734