Merchants Square dig uncovers artifacts

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November 2, 2007

9:00 AM

__Researchers find remnants of colonial building__

An archaeological dig at a parking lot in Merchants Square uncovered artifacts that date prior to the founding of Williamsburg in 1699.

p. Researchers have found evidence of a building that could date back to as early as 1633 and an era known to historians as the Middle Plantation Period. In this era, the local land served as a fortification against Native American attacks. This is 60 years before the founding of the College and 66 years before the founding of Williamsburg.

p. “We rarely find any evidence of Middle Plantation. There are no maps that tell us how the property was laid out before the capital moved here and the town was renamed Williamsburg,” Colonial Williamsburg archaeologist Mark Kostro told the Daily Press. “Any discoveries of that period are entirely by chance. It’s certainly the most significant feature we’ve uncovered in this excavation.”

p. Researchers are certain the site dates back before the city’s founding because of the layout. The building is oriented southeast by northwest, a stark contrast to the surrounding historic area’s east-west rectilinear grid that was adopted in 1699.

p. The dig is taking place in the SunTrust bank parking lot at the corner of Prince George Street and North Henry Street. The dig is funded by SunTrust, which plans to construct a building on the site.

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