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The Foundations of Democracy

  • Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society 69 Market Street Onancock United States (map)

This year marks the 400th anniversary of Virginia’s first 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 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. Join David Givens, Jamestown Rediscovery’s director of archaeology, as he reveals 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 was also 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. Givens holds a master’s degree with distinction in historical archaeology from the University of Leicester and undergraduate degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University in anthropology, sociology, and Russian language.

Purchase tickets at The evening includes hors d’oeuvres; a cash bar will be available.