Holy Ground: The 1608 Church and Chancel Excavations at James Fort

Author(s): David Givens

Year: 2017


During the 2010 and 2013 field seasons, Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists excavated the remains of the sites first substantial church (1608 – 1617) and the remains of four individuals buried within the chancel. The dimensions and location of this "pretty chapel" as noted by secretary of the colony William Strachey matched the post-in-ground structure found by Rediscovery archaeologists in 2010. Additionally, the location of the building closely aligns with a cross-like symbol drawn on a ca. 1608 Spanish map outlining the Fort and the landscape in which it is situated.  The four individuals were identified through historical documents, forensics, chemistry, and science.  The identification – of both the structure and the individuals contained with – highlights the process of discovery and contextualizes these finds adding to the greater narrative of early James Fort. This paper will provide a context for several of the subsequent presentations in the session.

Cite this Record

Holy Ground: The 1608 Church and Chancel Excavations at James Fort. David Givens. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435312)


Temporal Keywords
17th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 731