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Renowned Archeologist Dispels Myths About Jamestown

Bill Kelso provides insight on Jamestown Fort Excavation

3/10/2005 11:07:21 AM


William Kelso

LYNCHBURG -- William M. Kelso, an archeologist whose work led to the discovery of Jamestown Fort, spoke recently at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Kelso, director of archeology for the Jamestown Rediscovery project, presented “Jamestown Rediscovered: The Truth about America’s Birthplace,” in Margaret Ellis Hall of Martin Science Building.

Recently named Virginian of the Year by the Virginia Press Association, Kelso is known nationally as a leading archeologist in early American history. During his 30-year tenure, he has served as director of archeology at Carter’s Grove near Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello and Poplar Forest. He has also been commissioner of archeology for the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.

Perhaps his most notable work began in 1993, when he persuaded the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities to hire him to search for James Fort on Jamestown Island. The fort on the James River was America’s first permanent English settlement and was long thought to have been washed away.

Just three years later, Kelso and his small staff had enough evidence to dispel the belief that the fort was lost. Now, the project is considered by many to be the premiere archeological dig in the United States. The team has unearthed many exciting discoveries about the 1607 settlement. Research findings from the project will contribute to the interpretive plan for the national celebration in 2007 of the 400th anniversary of the landing at Jamestown. Updated information about the findings is available at

A native of Ohio, Kelso received his B.A. in history from Baldwin-Wallace College and a master’s degree in history from the College of William & Mary. He later completed his doctoral dissertation on the excavation of a plantation in Savannah for the Georgia Historical Commission and received his Ph.D. from Emory University.

For more information, please contact Brenda Edson, strategic communications manager, at 434-947-8142.

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations