Local archeologists unearth settlement

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September 29, 2009

1:23 AM

Local archaeologists have recently discovered Argall Towne, an early settlement located just outside of Jamestown. The find could help researchers better understand how some of Virginia’s earliest settlers lived
and eventually expanded outward into the colony.

Archaeologist Alain Outlaw had been searching for the site for over 30 years. Outlaw is associated with
Archaeological and Cultural Solutions, based in Williamsburg.

“Argall Towne provides a link with other early sites in the area, such as Jamestown, Martin’s Hundred, and others,” Outlaw said. “[Discoveries there] will allow us to find out more about other sites.”

Early maps of the area indicated there was a settlement somewhere north of Jamestown, but Outlaw did not have permission to begin searching for the site until recently.

Outlaw said that both knowledge of history and archaeology went into finding the elusive site.

Outlaw, along with other researchers and archaeologists from ACS, students from Christopher Newport University and various volunteers have been finding objects owned by the town’s former inhabitants.

Many of the findings are domestic objects, such as smoking pipes or jug shards, but some military artifacts have been found as well.

These findings could hold important clues about daily life, not just in Argall Towne, but in other surrounding colonial settlements as well.

The items could also show how colonists in Jamestown expanded into inner Virginia.

The town was established by and named for Captain Samuel Argall, the then-lieutenant governor of the colony of Virginia.

Argall Towne played an important role in Virginia’s colonial history as the first major township in the county outside of Jamestown.

However, after three years, many chose to move to Martin’s Hundred, a nearby settlement, because they were unhappy with the leadership of the captain in Argall Towne.

Argall is infamous for having kidnapped Pocahontas, attacked a Jesuit settlement in Maine and having sponsored privateering expeditions in the Caribbean. However, he revitalized the Jamestown colony after several years of decline.

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