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Historic Jamestown Threatened by Flooding

Friday, May 6, 2022

JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA—According to a report in The Washington Post, the site of the 1607 English settlement of Jamestown, the first arrival of enslaved Africans in America in 1619, and long-time home of Native Americans has been placed on a list of the country’s most endangered historical places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Situated on a tidewater island between the James River and a swamp, the site is vulnerable to heavy rain and rising groundwater levels brought about by climate change. “You’ve got resources there underwater, that are staying underwater,” said Katherine Malone-France of the National Trust. Archaeologists and their colleagues attempt to manage the water around their excavations with drainage systems constructed in the 1950s, sump pumps, sand bags, and tarps because water can damage or destroy artifacts such as pieces of armor, projectile points, and human remains, and wash away layers of sediments. Plans to reinforce the 100-year-old concrete-block seawall holding back the James River with giant granite stones will soon get underway, added Michael Lavin of Jamestown Rediscovery. A modern drainage system, a special flood berm, and raised roads are also needed to preserve the site, he said. To read about recent finds from Jamestown, go to "Burn Notice."

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