2017 Week 8

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Field School 2017 – Week 8
George Kemp — St. Mary’s College of Maryland


“Williamsburg and Jamestown Bound”



Learning about ceramics analysis from Kelly Ladd-Kostro in the Colonial Williamsburg Archaeology Lab




Welcome to Week Eight of the Historic St. Mary’s City 2017 Archeology Field School. This week started out a little different from the normal set up and dig operation we’ve been doing. This week we went on a field trip back over to Virginia. Our goal was to learn more about how other field schools go about archaeology and find interesting information related to their sites. This time the visit was to the archaeology field schools at both Williamsburg and Jamestown.


Hearing about the excavations at the Robert Carter House from Mark Kostro


Starting our journey by fueling up at McDonalds we traveled three hours to visit Associate Curator of Archaeological Collections Kelly Ladd-Kostro to learn about the history of Williamsburg and kinds of artifacts are held in the Williamsburg Archaeology Laboratories. Going from there we then moved on to speak with Archaeologist Mark Kostro and his team work at the Robert Carter House to discuss what interesting developments have been going on at their site.



Field school students checking out the reconstructed capital building at Colonial Williamsburg



In addition to learning about the background of the family that lived there we also saw the children’s summer program “DIG! Kids, Dirt & Discovery” that has been running at Williamsburg for the last three years. Finishing off a hot day at Williamsburg in the mid-afternoon, we then checked into our motel rooms for the evening and had a group dinner across the street before settling in for the night.


Danny Schmidt telling our field school students about the excavation of James Fort


Fragment of early 17th-century German stoneware feature a portion of the Grapes of Canaan molded decoration





The next day we were ready to take on the new day at the Jamestown Site and Settlement. Jamestown is where our own Chief Archaeologist Travis Parno did his field school in 2005. When we arrived, we were introduced to Dr. William Kelso, the archaeologist who rediscovered James Fort in 1994, and tour guide for the day, Senior Staff Archaeologist Danny Schmidt.  Learning about the past of Jamestown was an interesting experience where we entered their current site at the Chapel and sites farther afield around in the area known as New Towne, meeting volunteers, and entered the artifact vault at Jamestown’s laboratory. Again, it was an incredibly hot day to be out in the sun, but it was well worth it for all parties involved to learn about life at Jamestown.


Traveling back to St. Mary’s on Thursday evening and coming back to the Leonard Calvert House site on Friday, we spent the remainder of the week searching for artifacts and educating the public through tours.  We will be prepping for our big Tidewater Archeology Weekend coming up and we hope you all can attend.


[Editor’s note: Join us for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend on July 29 and 30 and help us screen for artifacts at the Leonard Calvert House! Also, enjoy tours of the archaeology lab, the St. John’s site, and the reconstructed brick chapel]