1617 village is first suburb of Jamestown (USA)

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JAMES CITY — Local archaeologists have discovered Argall Towne, a short-lived village that was the first suburb of nearby Jamestown.

The village was started in 1617 by Capt. Samuel Argall, then a colorful lieutenant governor of the colony. It thrived for three years, but his impetuous behavior led many of the settlers to move away to Martin’s Hundred near Carter’s Grove Plantation.

Alain Outlaw of Williamsburg-based Archaeological & Cultural Solutions has been searching for the site since 1975.

“It’s been a slow process,” said Outlaw, who is also an adjunct professor at Christopher Newport University. For two years, since he got access to the land, his students and volunteers have researched the site.

Outlaw won’t pinpoint the locale for fear of relic hunters.

The find is important because it represents the first major settlement in James City outside Jamestown, and it provides a key link to how settlers expanded outward from Jamestown. Argall Towne was built on strategically high land that was easily defended, and from that point small farmsteads spread inland.

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