Released: September 19, 2011
Lincoln, Neb. - Dr. William Kelso, Director of Archaeology for the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) at Historic Jamestowne, will present a public lecture for the Lincoln-Omaha Society of the Archaeological Institute of America entitled "Jamestowne: The Buried Truth" on Monday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Richards Hall Rm. 15. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Kelso, the archaeologist who discovered the first traces of Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America and currently the director of excavations at the "lost" colony, will give a public lecture on the discovery of the site and its history.
Up to 1994 historians thought that remnants of old Jamestown had been washed away by floodwaters of the James River, but the first few days of excavation uncovered pottery fragments that dated to the 17th century along with traces of long-since decayed logs.
The discovery by Kelso of Jamestown ranks among the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in this country. Now historians and archaeologists are able to piece together the evidence surrounding the first European settlement on this continent and also look for reasons behind why the early settlement failed-over half the fort's population was dead within six months.
Jamestown is currently being restored under the direction of Kelso. The fort's walls, storehouse, church and other interior building have already been restored. Also, excavations at the fort have yielded a cemetery from which skeletal analysis of the bones has proven fruitful about the original inhabitants of this short-lived experiment in Virginia.
The excavation of Jamestown, under the direction of Kelso, is often touted as one of this nation's premier examples of historical archaeology, in which many scientific disciplines are brought to bear to elucidate our understanding of the earliest years in Colonial America.
For more than 30 years, Kelso has built a reputation as one of America's foremost historical archaeologists in Early American history. He has served as director of archaeology at Colonial Williamsburg's Carter's Grove, Monticello and Poplar Forest. He was also commissioner of archaeology for the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.
In 1993, he left Monticello and persuaded the APVA to hire him to find James Fort, on Jamestown Island, Virginia. Coincidentally, the APVA was embarking on its second century of service and wanted to make a significant contribution to the 400th anniversary in 2007 of the founding of Jamestown. The APVA Board of Trustees launched a 10-year archaeological search for James Fort with Kelso at the helm.
A native of Ohio, Kelso received a B.A. in history from Baldwin-Wallace College and master's degree in history from the College of William & Mary.
Kelso's lecture is sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Lincoln-Omaha Society of the Archaeological Institute of America.
Richards Hall is located at Stadium Drive and T streets on the UNL city campus.
Future AIA Lectures
- Monday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Nancy Serwint, Arizona State University
"Aphrodite and Her Near Eastern Sisters: The Generation of the Goddess on the Island of Cyprus"
Room 15, Richards Hall, Stadium Drive, UNL