The archaeologists carefully lifted and moved the 1,200-pound gravestone, which was four centuries old. They planned to restore this priceless artifact that dated back to the earliest English settlers in America, who’d arrived in Jamestown in 1607. And they hoped to find out who exactly had been buried beneath the stone, an unsolved mystery that had perplexed historians for decades.
If you paid attention in history class, you’ll know that Jamestown in Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in North America. The Virginia Company of London founded the colony in 1607, naming it James Fort. Archaeologist William Kelso, an expert on Jamestown, told Slate that the settlement “is where the British Empire began.”
These first colonists from England set up their new home on the banks of Powhatan River, which was the land of the Paspahegh tribe. Relations between the newcomers and the original inhabitants were cordial at first, but this wasn’t to last. Within a few years, in fact, the Paspahegh had been completely wiped out.