Friday, September 30, 2022

Historic Jamestowne to unveil new barracks in October

Construction is underway of the new barracks. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Historic Jamestowne)

Visitors to Historic Jamestowne will see a new interpretation of a 17th century structure within the fort.

The structure is a recreation of a barracks that was constructed in 1607 or 1608, according to a news release from Historic Jamestowne.

It is expected to be completed in October.

The original barracks was 55 feet by 18 feet, and stood in the southeast corner of the fort.

Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists uncovered evidence of the barracks in 1996, including 26 aligned postholes and remnants of a cellar and chimney.

The barracks likely housed many of the fort’s early male settlers.

In 2007, a team with Historic Jamestown constructed a partial interpretation of the barracks on the exact same spot where the original stood.

The new structure will replace the 2007 recreation.

The new project was made possible by a $78,000 donation from the Jamestowne Society, whose members can trace their ancestry to one of Jamestown Island’s earliest English settlers.

“Reconstructions such as this provide a tangible representation of the power of archaeology in illustrating the lost landscape of Jamestown and are critical to our educational mission,” said Jamestown Rediscovery President James Horn. “We are truly grateful for the longstanding friendship and collaboration with the Jamestowne Society, whose generosity makes this possible.”

(WYDaily/ Courtesy Historic Jamestowne)
(WYDaily/ Courtesy Historic Jamestowne)

The fort’s original barracks was constructed using the “mud-and-stud” architectural method that was popular during the period. Such buildings are composed of a timber frame that supports walls of mud that, once dry, are covered in a waterproofing plaster. Archaeologists believe the early-1600s barracks had a dirt floor, wood doors, a thatched roof and open windows.

Edwin Pease and David Stemann of Stemann-Pease Architecture and historic preservation contractors from Black Creek Workshop LLC have devised a construction plan to make sure the new barracks look like the original structure.

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