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Archaeologist Claims to Find Pocahontas' Wedding Site -- the Oldest Protestant Church in America

Archaeologists and, in turn, citizens may soon learn more about Pocahontas, the Native American woman who has, without question, become an American legend.

Dr. William Kelso, the Director of Archaeology for Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA), says he's unearthed the church where she and tobacco planter John Rolfe were married.

As the story goes, Pocahontas' meeting with Rolfe was credited with helping to stem tensions between the British and the Indians for nearly one decade. Of course, the tale, in its entirety, isn't your typical, run-of-the-mill love story. The dramatic interactions between the Indians and British initially led to Pocahontas being captured.

The English held the young woman for ransom. Later, once the dust settled, she opted to stay with them and she went on to marry Rolfe. The couple even had a son named Thomas and they moved to England, where she later died at the age of 21.

The Pocahontas-Rolfe wedding, which was nearly 400 years ago, took place in a Protestant church. The house of worship's recently-discovered remains are located in Jamestown, Virginia, where archaeologists also discovered four corresponding graves. The site, Kelso claims, was important to the local society. AFP has more:

"Religion played a big role" in the community, Kelso said as he stood near the river where small fluttering flags marked the building's outline. Settlers "put a lot of work in the building of this big church, and that became very important for the colony."

According to Kelso, two other Protestant churches existed before this one, though no remains from those houses of worship have been uncovered to date. Thus, this particular church distinguishes itself as the oldest recovered Protestant church in America.

Kelso and his team uncovered several post holes that were more than six feet deep. The size of the holes, he claims, indicates that the posts were strong enough to support the building's heavy roof.  The archaeologist also says that records kept by the colony's secretary match what researchers have found at the site today. Mail Online has more:

The burial sites also match four high-ranking colony members who would have been buried near the church: a knight, two captains and Reverend Robert Hunt, the first cleric to come to the site. [...]

Archaeologists plan to dig up the graves in the coming months with the hope of confirming the identities of those buried.

Considering Pocahontas' place in American history, this find, should it pan out, will help to add understanding and context to her story.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

 

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