Jamestown Rediscovery’s director of archaeology David Givens.

David Givens

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society will present a lecture at Ker Place in Onancock by Jamestown Rediscovery’s director of archaeology, David Givens, at 6 p.m. this Friday, March 15.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of Virginia’s General Assembly, the first governmental body in English North America. Meeting in an extremely hot July in 1619, 22 Burgesses assembled in the second church at Jamestown, a then-recently completed timber frame structure at the center of the growing town. Lost to history, the foundations of the building were first uncovered in the late 19th century by founding members of Preservation Virginia. In anticipation of this commemorative year, the Jamestown Rediscovery team has been excavating and discovering a new understanding of the buildings – and the people – from this early time. Givens will reveal the current findings that are illuminating the very foundations of our nation’s democratic experiment.

Givens first started in archaeology more than 30 years ago, volunteering on dig sites in the mountains where he worked with the local chapter of the Archaeological Society of Virginia. It also was in Blacksburg that he was introduced to computer science, working for Virginia Tech’s electrical engineering department to establish the Electronic Village program and build computers for students. His passion for the past and the application of technology to the world of historical archaeology is what brought him to the Jamestown Rediscovery project in 2001. He specializes in visualizing lost landscapes of Colonial Virginia and currently is directing the archaeology of the Angela site, an excavation focused on one of the first Africans to arrive at Jamestown in 1619.

Lecture tickets are $10 for ESVHS members and $15 for not-yet-members. They can be purchased at shorehistory.org/ticketsales, or call 757-787-8012 by Thursday before noon to reserve your spot and pay at the door. The evening will include light hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar will be available.

While you’re at Ker Place, be sure to check out the new exhibit, “Dig It: Unearthing Archaeological Treasures on the Shore,” which shares archaeological findings at Shore landmarks such as Ker Place, Eyreville, and the Rev. Francis Makemie’s home site.

Regular tours of the 1799 home of prominent merchant John Ker run 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday now through mid-December.