A Student of History

March 5, 2006

The Fate of Martin’s Hundred

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 3:24 am

I guess this is military history in a way since Jamestown had a fort and the settlers there were in constant danger of attack from Spanish ships and Native people as well.  Not that this site needs to be just about military history-especially since I am not sure if I am a military historian. Anyway, I AM a Virginian, so this is whay I am discussing this.

The on-line version of the magazine Archaeology has an article entitled The Fate of Martin’s Hundred, by Sandra Scham (here). She says that the MH is “the preeminent site that, in effect, tells us the “What Went Wrong?” of Indian and colonist relationships. The same massacre that decimated the colony in 1622 reached other settlements as well–but of these only Martin’s Hundred has been systematically excavated in such a way as to reveal the story of this pivotal event through archaeology.” MH “witnessed one of the most significant projects in the development of Historical Archaeology in this country.”  But will it be lost?  Scham writes “The site has now been closed to the public by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation because, according to Noel Hume, they believe that keeping it open would be “economically unsound. They said that not enough tickets were sold,” he further explains, but this assessment apparently did not take into account the “all-inclusive” admissions to the site sold in the town of Williamsburg.”  She goes on to report that

Ron Hurst, Vice President of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation says that the organization’s mandate is to “protect and preserve the eighteenth century architecture” of the area and that “the remains from earlier periods” are not really of interest to the organization. This may be the real reason why the Foundation has indicated that there are no plans to reopen Carter’s Grove.

On a happier note, things are moving along very well in Virginia up by Mt. Vernon. According to a report (also the same magazine, here) There’s been exciting progress at the site of George Washington’s Distillery. The archaeological excavation ended in early spring 2005 and after six years of digging, two years of intense planning, and six months to get an approved building permit from the State of Virginia.  Another article on this project is here.  Cheers!

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