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Armor, weapons found buried in trash pit at Jamestown 5-9-07

JAMESTOWN, Va. (AP) - Archaeologists excavating a trash pit at
Jamestown, America's first permanent English settlement, have found a
cache of armor and weapons from the early 1600s.

Queen Elizabeth II viewed the objects during her visit to the dig
site last week on her trip to the United States to help mark
Jamestown's 400th anniversary. They include armor used to protect the
thigh, a broad sword, a rapier hilt and an iron pole.

“It may be like the tip of an iceberg. We expect that these exciting
artifacts may be buried with many other related finds. We'll see as
we uncover more of it in the next few days,” William Kelso, director
of archaeology at Historic Jamestowne, said in a news release
Wednesday.

According to historical accounts, the colonists buried unneeded
military equipment in June 1610 when they decided to abandon
Jamestown after a horrible winter. The day after they left, they met
Lord De La Warre's fleet at the mouth of the James River and were
forced to return.

The objects were partially excavated last week, about 3 feet below
what would have been ground level in the 17th century. They were in a
19-foot-square pit that would have been inside the colonists'
triangular fort. Archaeologists think the pit was a well that later
became a trash pit.

Other items found in the pit include glass trade beads, baubles,
chess pieces, iron objects, pottery shards that date to the early
years at James Fort and Virginia Indian artifacts such as a grinding
stone, a bone needle and shell beads.

Archaeologists also have found oysters, crab claws and the remains of
fish, bird, turtle, deer and goat in the pit.
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