Daniel Gookin’s Chesapeake: The Intercolonial Plantation Landscape

Author(s): Luke Pecoraro

Year: 2014


English colonization of Virginia has been characterized as boldly intrusive, spreading outquickly from the first toehold at Jamestown into the hinterlands and leading to openhostility with native peoples almost from the start. The tactics used and methods employed in colonizing Virginia were not new; many of the Jamestown venturers werethemselves involved in plantation efforts in the late 16th/early 17th centuries in Ireland.While it has long been known that there are direct historical links among individuals atJamestown and other Virginia Company Period (1607 ‘ 1624) sites to Irish plantations,historical archaeology in Ireland and elsewhere in southeastern Virginia is producingevidence that there are more Irish influences on the 17th -century colonial project thanpreviously thought. Using archaeological evidence from the Nansemond Fort (44SK192),a c.1637 inland fortified bawn in Suffolk, Virginia, the architectural evidencereveals a settlement plan similar to those from the same period in Ireland. The site also has historical associations with Daniel Gookin Jr., whose long career involved him in colonial projects in Ireland, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. By contextualizing the Nansemond Fort in a comparative framework with English plantation sites in Ireland, a clearer picture of the influence and adaptations that these earlier colonial ventures had on the development of North American colonies emerges and permits the consideration of the agency of individuals to settle the landscape based on their previous enterprises. An archaeological biography approach to the life of Daniel Gookin Jr. strengthens the link between the archaeological and documentary records and enables a better understanding of how those in the17th century lived their daily lives, and conceptualized themselves’not in isolation, but as part of a wider world, connected by past experience, trade networks, and religion.

Cite this Record

Daniel Gookin’s Chesapeake: The Intercolonial Plantation Landscape. Luke Pecoraro. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437196)

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Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-65,01