Searching for the lost Jamestown fort was a bit like trying to find the lost city of Atlantis. Most people assumed the fort was deep under the waters of the James River, whose shifting banks were thought to have washed over the old fort site, hiding it forever. But one resolute archeologist thought otherwise. William M. Kelso was determined to find the old fort in time for Jamestown’s 400th anniversary. And he did! After years of exhaustive archeological work, the fort site has been rediscovered along with over one million artifacts and several original gravesites.
Virginia Company explorers came to Jamestown Island in the James River 400 years ago. It was here they established the Virginia English colony—a full 13 years ahead of the more famous Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Today, Historic Jamestowne is a part of Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia. Here, the National Park Service tells the story of all three cultures--European, North American, and African--that came together in and around Jamestown. The new Visitor Center tells how the arrival of the English influenced the Native Americans who had lived in the area for thousands of years before the settlers arrived, how the settlers eventually enslaved African Americans, and how the settlers established a democratic system of government.
Historic Jamestowne is a unit within the larger Colonial National Historical Park, a 10,221-acre park that marks both the beginning and the end of English period in Colonial America. In addition to Historic Jamestowne, the park includes Yorktown Battlefield, the site of critical victory in the American Revolution. At Yorktown, Gen. George Washington assembled troops for a surprise attack on the British in 1781, leading to the British surrender. The American victory marked the end of English rule in the colonies.