Sunday, August 24, 2008

Welcome to Jimson Harvest

Jamestown's Quatercentenary is history; we can reflect on the extraordinary discoveries that Bill Kelso and his crew have made on the island and the many books and articles that commemorated it. Nevertheless, we still lack a national awareness of the colony's most important heritage and legacies.

Almost all recent historians’ and popular accounts have focused solely on its background, founding and early years. Some have reported the new evidence of its settlers’ lives, diets, attitudes, habits and possessions from the treasure trove of 17th century artifacts that are being unearthed from the archaeological digs of the first James Fort and nearby English and Algonquian settlements. Others have described what is also being learned about the influence, roles and contributions of Europeans and Africans.

Jamestown's founding has a much deeper meaning than merely being one of our national origins. It was the seminal incident that introduced the opportunities to innovate many profound social, political, and economic tenets and constitutional principles that have come down to us through our history. Their lasting effect is what has differentiated Jamestown from other preceding or contemporary English and European settlements in America.

The recent histories have thoroughly chronicled Jamestown's first seventeen years, but, with few exceptions, given us only a glimpse of what was accomplished there. Professor Warren Billings argues, "...the significance of Jamestown lies beyond [those years, when] Virginia became a place quite unlike anything [its founders] envisioned, even in their wildest dreams."

When we look across its nine decades, we realize Jamestown's crucial place in our history, its contributions to our constitutional republic and how major threads of our heritage were first spun there to be woven into our national fabric.

Jimson Harvest aims to provide a forum for discussion of Jamestown's legacies and influence on our heritage and history.

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