Centuries-old slate discovered at Jamestown dig

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Archaeologists have pulled a 400-year-old slate tablet from what they think was an original well at Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America, a historic preservation group announced Monday.

The slate is covered with faint inscriptions of local birds, flowers, a tree and caricatures of men, along with letters and numbers, according to Preservation Virginia, which jointly operates the dig site with the National Park Service. It was found May 11 at the center of James Fort, which was established in 1607 along the James River in eastern Virginia.

Researchers at NASA Langley put the slate through three-dimensional digital analysis so they could decipher its pictures and text. The imaging system normally is used to inspect materials for aerospace use.

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