Archeology and hidden histories uncovered on Jamestown Island
Researchers look for evidence of enslaved people at Travis Plantation
On the shores of Jamestown Island aboard a vessel of the same name, The James Town, enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia from the island of Barbados.
It was the 1750s and Euro-Americans relied on the forced labor of these individuals to support the plantation economy. By 1768, at least 44 enslaved people lived and worked on the Travis plantation. They witnessed British threats to Jamestown Island in 1775 and the use of the Travis plantation as a base of operations during the American Revolution. The names of some of the Africans and African Americans were discovered through the Travis’ agricultural and financial records, but archeologists are working to uncover evidence of where they lived, the kinds of objects they kept in their homes, and how they used them.
Archeologists with the National Park Service are kicking off another season of investigations using ground penetrating radar and archeological excavations to learn more about the landscape of enslavement and discover artifacts left behind by those forced to live and labor on Jamestown Island during the Eighteenth Century.”
This project is funded through the Civil Rights Initiative of the National Park Service, which supports park efforts to expand the understanding and public interpretation of African American histories and heritage within the United States.
In addition to the archeology, Colonial National Historical Park is expanding the project to learn more about the people who lived there by engaging with descendant communities and others who might have family knowledge of this history. Several workshops or meetings are currently being planned to help strengthen and build community engagement.
Information provided by NPS
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