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Historic map may lead to further discoveries at James Fort

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A map known as the Zuñiga Map may lead to further discoveries at James Fort, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.

The Zuñiga Map is a manuscript depicting the Chesapeake Bay and Tidewater Virginia, which is a copy of a map probably drawn by Captain John Smith, who played an important role in the establishment of the colony at Jamestown.

The map is named after Don Pedro de Zúñiga, a Spanish ambassador to England who sent the map to Philip III of Spain in 1608. The map is significant for noting the location of native villages, the location of Jamestown, and the architecture of James Fort, which is used in the logo for the Jamestown Rediscovery Project.

A letter from Zuñiga to Philip III, housed in the British Library, reads: “I have thought proper to send Y.M. a plan of Virginia and another of the Fort which the English have erected there, together with a report given to me by a person who has been there. Still, I am trying to learn more, and I shall report about it.”

Image Credit: Houghton Mifflin Company

A closer examination of the map shows a feature that looks like a flag extending from the north bulwark of the fort, which has led to new excavations on a previously unexplored area of Jamestown Island.

According to former Jamestown curator, Bly Straube, the flag may have been incorrectly interpreted and could indicate an enclosure or garden that supported the fort inhabitants.

Back in 2019, researchers from the Jamestown Rediscovery Project conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey on the area indicated by the flag. The survey revealed a large ditch that archaeologists believe dates to 1608.

Excavations in 2022 found a Confederate moat from 1861 which cut into the ditch, in addition to a brick-lined well from 1617 north of what was once Fort Pocahontas. Fort Pocahontas was a Civil War-era Confederate fort that was built on top of James Fort shortly after Confederate troops arrived at the island in 1861.

Excavations are planned in the autumn of 2023 to reveal the entirety of the well and further investigate the area indicated by the flag feature on the Zuñiga Map. John Smith wrote of more than 50 houses at Jamestown in 1608, and archaeologists have yet to uncover any of these houses in the vicinity of the fort.

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Archaeology

Giant catapult shots discovered from siege of Kenilworth Castle

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Archaeologists have uncovered eight 13th century catapult shots from the 1266 siege of Kenilworth Castle.

Kenilworth Castle, located in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England, is both a semi-royal palace and historic fortress.

Founded in the 1120s, the castle was the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne and the Earl of Leicester’s reception of Elizabeth I in 1575.

During the First Civil War (1642 to 1646), Kenilworth formed a useful counterbalance to the Parliamentary stronghold of Warwick. Following the defeat of royalist forces, Parliament ordered the slighting of Kenilworth 1649, leaving the castle a romantic ruin and popular tourist attraction over the centuries.

Recent works to improve a pathway on castle grounds has led to the discovery of eight giant catapult shots. According to the archaeologists, the shots date from the Siege of Kenilworth (1266), a six-month siege of the castle during the Second Barons’ War.

The conflict was between a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort (who had custody of Kenilworth Castle) against the royalist forces of King Henry III, and later his son, the future King Edward I.

Image Credit : English Heritage

According to historical accounts, the siege was the largest to occur in Medieval England and involved numerous “turres ligneas” (wooden towers), trebuchets, and catapults which fired the giant shots.

The shots are of varying sizes, with the largest weighing 105 kg and the smallest just 1 kg. “’These would have caused some serious damage when fired from war machines. Records show that one of Henry III’s wooden siege towers, containing around 200 crossbowmen, was destroyed by just one well-aimed missile,” said Will Wyeth, English Heritage’s Properties Historian.

Header Image Credit : English Heritage

Sources : English Heritage

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Sappers clear over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII

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A team of sappers under archaeological supervision have cleared over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII on the Westerplatte Peninsula in Gdańsk, Poland.

Situated at the mouth of the Dead Vistula on the Baltic Sea coast, the peninsula was the site of the Battle of Westerplatte, one of the initial clashes between Polish and German forces during the invasion of Poland in WWII.

The Polish garrison held out for seven days, repelling thirteen German assaults. The battle became a symbol of Polish resistance, tying up substantial German forces at Westerplatte and preventing over 3,000 German soldiers from providing fire support in the nearby battles of Hel and Gdynia.

Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk led the clearing of the Westerplatte area, working in conjunction with soldiers from the 43rd Naval Sapper Battalion, the Engineer Battalion Sapper Company from the 2nd Sapper Regiment from Kazuń Nowy, and a team of archaeologists to supervise and document any archaeological material.

The clearance works have uncovered over 4,700 dangerous objects in the duration of the project along with 180 historical artefacts.

“To date, specialists have penetrated an area of ​​over 13.5 hectares, resulting in the discovery of over 4,700 dangerous objects, including 3 air bombs, one of which weighing 500 kg was located only 30 cm below the ground surface ” – said the head of the Archaeological Department of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, Filip Kuczma.

Some of these objects include almost 200 artillery shells, mortar and hand grenades, and small arms ammunition. Other WWII objects include elements from the soldier’s uniforms, lead seals, and parts of the railway infrastructure in Westerplatte.

The team also uncovered cannonballs, musket shells, coins, decorative stove tiles, and ceramics from the time of the War of the Polish succession (1733 to 1738) and the Napoleonic period (1799 to 1815).

Header Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

Sources : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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