A visit to Virginia's most historic locations can yield a wealth of information and give visitors an appreciation for on which the country was founded. If nothing else, these sites serve as a gateway into the past, and Historic Jamestowne is one that should be on everyone's list. Located only 16 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg, on the shore of the James River, exists one of the original colonial settlements.

There, visitors can stroll the grounds of what was once a small seaport. Access to Historic Jamestowne, just across the bridge from the Jamestown Settlement entrance, provides visitors with a gateway to the past - and they have the entire island to explore. What was once a truly unique riverside town has become a historic hub for anyone interested in colonial history, and it's a great, smaller - yet less crowded - alternative to Colonial Williamsburg.

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What To Do When Arriving At Jamestown

While it may only take two or three hours to explore the actual settlement of Historic Jamestowne, visitors do have access to the entire island. That means that one full day could easily be spent exploring its various trails and observing the wildlife that has existed in Jamestown for centuries, long before settlers moved on. One of the most exciting things about Jamestown is that new exhibits and artifacts are always being released because the archeological efforts to excavate the entirety of this site are still underway through Jamestown Rediscovery. Therefore, what one saw the year prior might be different from what's on display the following year, and so on.

When arriving, visitors might opt to take a guided tour which is also led by Jamestown Rediscovery. These guided tours offer insight into the way life was during the 17th century, and guides are well-versed in the history of each building, fort, and trade that would have been used by the settlers of Jamestown. Tour-goers can expect a detailed introduction to Jamestown, a tour of James Fort, a talk from a living history interpreter, and more about Jamestown's lesser-known history.

Guided Tour Information

  • Tours begin at Tercentennial Monument
  • Archeology in Action: 9 AM - 12 PM / 1 PM - 4 PM daily
  • Archeology of the James Fort: 11 AM - 12 PM daily
  • Jamestown History Program: 2 PM 3 PM (topics vary, see tour site for details)

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Visiting The Archaearium

When visitors have finished touring the Jamestown settlement via guided or self-guided tour, they might choose to visit the Archaearium. This houses more than 20 years of archeological discoveries that have been unearthed at the settlement at Jamestown, providing a unique experience for those who wish to get a closer look at the way settlers lived their lives.

These artifacts tell the stories of the settler's relationships with the land, as well as with each other and the Native Americans who called this land home long before it was settled. The Archaearium is an award-winning destination that's home to some of the most interesting, and unique, historical artifacts ever discovered at a colonial settlement.

Guests can expect to see things such as tools, armor, items used for trade, colonial coins, religious artifacts, personal items, and even food remains. The Archaearium is also home to the largest collection of Indian artifacts in the state.

Current Excavation Sites

Memorial Church was built in 1617 and it's here that efforts are ongoing to unearth even more of Historic Jamestowne's secrets. This was the second church built in the settlement and eventually become the home of the first General Assembly from July 30th to August 4th, making it a place of great significance in regard to American history. While the church is also set to be reconstructed, currently, archeological teams have unearthed artifacts that have been helpful in depicting what life was truly like during the early 1600s for colonial settlers.

Over time, as the settlement grew and more structures were needed, an area called New Towne was added. This area was home to an extension to the original fort, and efforts are now ongoing to unearth the additional eastern wing of New Towne. It's believed that this was intended to be the beginnings of a full town, which Historic Jamestown eventually grew to be. During the process, archeological teams have dug up artifacts belonging to settlers during the 17th and 18th centuries and while some are still being analyzed, many are on display.

Operating Hours For Jamestown

Entrance Gate: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Visitor Center Tickets: 9 AM - 4:30 PM

Gift Shop at the Visitor Center: 9 AM - 5 PM

1608 Glasshouse: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Island Loop Drive: 8:30 AM - Sunset

Memorial Church: 9 AM - 5 PM

Archaearium and Museum Store: 9:30 AM - 5 PM

Dale House Cafe: 11 AM - 4 PM

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