What’s left of the Confederate battery.
Of course, there’s Civil War history (seriously, I defy you to name a place in Virginia that doesn’t offer Civil War history). But in 1862, the site became Doller’s Point Battery, a Confederate earthworks during the American Civil War intended to protect Richmond against Union gunboats coming up the James River.
|The bronze Pocahontas statue was unveiled in June 1922, and stood south
of the church, where it could “welcome” visitors coming from off the ferry.
In 2014 it was moved slightly to the west to make way for archaeological work.
Yeah. Wow. Historic Jamestowne turned my understanding of the first colonists upside-down. These were people living on the edge.
To enter Historic Jamestowne, you must first walk through the museum, which sets the stage for an understanding of Jamestowne and the historic significance of the first English colony in North America. The first colonists literally changed the world. The museum discusses the impact of the new arrivals on the continent. The museum also points out that the coming together of three distinct cultures in Jamestown changed the destinies of all three: the Europeans, who sought wealth but found instead hardship and, more than a few of them, death; the Powhatan, who fought to preserve their way of life; and Africans, who were enslaved and sought freedom. Neither the enslaved Africans nor the Powhatan had much choice in this culture clash.
The Voorhees Archaearium is just a few hundred yards away from the location of the church and fort, where the original statehouse was located. It is filled with excavated artifacts and exhibits about Jamestowne. Several portions of the museum’s floor are glass panels, which reveals the foundations of the former statehouse. It’s a must-see part of your visit to Historic Jamestowne.
A Woman of Legend: Pocahontas
|A photo of a photo of a portrait of Rebecca Rolfe, aka Pocahontas.|
|The bronze John Smith statue was unveiled on May 13, 1909. The inscription
on the base reads: John Smith, Governor of Virginia, 1608 and features Smith’s
adopted coat of arms and motto, vincere est vivere (“to live is to conquer”).
The mystery at Jamestowne is whether the colonists could have — or would have — eaten a 14-year-old girl during the “starving time.” It seems rather horrifying, and for a long time (hundreds of years), contemporary or nearly contemporary accounts — a half-dozen or so different accounts — by individual who either lived during that time or had spoken to colonists who did — were dismissed. But in 2012, human remains were unearthed that provide confirmation of those accounts describing acts of cannibalism the winter of 1609 to 1610.
The starving time nearly ended the colony, which was riven by internal dissent, under attack by Powhatan Indians and short of food almost from its founding in 1607. In November 1609, 300 people inhabited the fort. By the time the weather warmed up for spring, only 60 remained. The girl, likely the daughter of a colonist, was one of the casualties. It’s also likely that her family, who would have protected her — or her corpse — died before she did. Low status and unprotected, she was fair game.
Know before you go: Historic Jamestowne is adjacent to and complementary with Jamestown Settlement, a living history museum built run by the Commonwealth of Virginia to interpret the early colony.
Getting there: 1368 Colonial Pkwy, Jamestown, VA 23081
Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.