Here Lies Virginia: An Archaeologist's View of Colonial Life and History

Here Lies Virginia: An Archaeologist's View of Colonial Life and History

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Here Lies Virginia: An Archaeologist's View of Colonial Life and History

Here Lies Virginia: An Archaeologist's View of Colonial Life and History

Read FREE!

Excerpt

"HOW TO SAVE the old that's worth saving, whether in landscape, houses, manners, institutions or human types, is one of our greatest problems, and the one that we bother least about." So wrote John Galsworthy nearly thirty years ago. Today the problem is no closer to being solved, although it has certainly become more urgent. Historians, archaeologists, conservationists, and people the world over who believe that the past should not be sacrificed on the altar of tomorrow, are fighting their small battles on many fronts. This book is devoted to one of them.

The story of colonial Virginia is a comparatively recent chapter in the annals of recorded history. So one might assume that we should have little difficulty in assembling sufficient facts to create a complete picture of life as it was lived in the colony in the seventeenth or eighteenth century. It often comes as a surprise, therefore, when we discover that we know no more about certain aspects of it than we do about comparable facets relating to the Romans or Egyptians.

In these chapters I have tried to demonstrate that archaeology and recorded history can and must combine together to fill in the missing details. Although the result is a somewhat ragged patchwork of successes and failures, I hope it will show that America's colonial past is worth saving, and that if we are to do so we must make use of the same disciplines, sciences, and skills that are so freely lavished on the remains of the more remote past.

Somewhere along the line it is usual for an author to slip in a few apologies disguised as explanatory notes in an attempt to disarm his . . .

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