Friday, July 18, 2008

Just stuff in Jamestown

So, we piled my nephew and his girl friend and her mom into the car, and after we had made sure they had some BBQ (barbeque here --smoked shredded pork with a vinegar sauce and served with coleslaw on a bun, best with hushpuppies and beer) and took them to Jamestown.

We went to the original Jamestown, where in the last few years they have discovered the original 1607 fort--the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. For a hundred or more years they have thought the fort was lost to the River. But a man staked his professional reputation, and pursued the discovery for his entire life.... and found it, recently. Now, they have had to rewrite the history of Jamestown. And they are doing just that.

Archaeologists were out with pick and shovel, clearing away the civil war embattlements that have been so carefully preserved elsewhere.... they could get to the good stuff like this cache of arms and armor dating to about 1610 or so.... not the oldest stuff in Virginia, but definitely the stuff that paves the way to the clash of cultures and peoples that changed forever the modern world.

And around the digs I met one of my heroes --

--William Kelso, the man whose passion proved positive that the River did not own Jamestown. I asked him what I had to do to volunteer in assisting the dig--and he told me.

So, I think I just might do that. Get my hands dirty. Work in the archaeology lab cleaning, sorting and identifying. It would be really good. A change of pace.

And mostly I like to do that kind of thing because it is so, --well, incarnational. That the things of the past, a past that seems more fictional than real, suddenly becomes very real and tangible. Forgotten things unearthed, loosened from a grave of oblivion, to be seen in a new light, to help us tell new stories about ourselves and our common past. Just stuff, 'cause heaven has come and is upon us --along side us, and is made known through stuff such as this..... no other way to know God or anything else, except through stuff. 'cause we don't live in ether nor a nether world.

Just stuff.


FranIAm said...

It is so very incarnational.

There are so many reasons I love this blog and your theological sensibilty is one of them.

Plus I love it that you call yourself "It's Margaret."

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I did not know this about finding the original Jamestown--and I should because I work on social studies books. (I've mostly done geography and world history for the last decade.) Anyway, I may very well end up using this in a textbook someday, and for that, I thank you.

it's margaret said...

Hey Franiam --It's Margaret is kinda like Fran I am, isn't it? And thank you --I do think theologically almost all the time....sometimes that makes the world very difficult!

Ruth --Kelso has some great books out on the discovery of this fort. And the Jamestown parks (there's two of 'em--one run by the Feds and a reconstruction run by the State) have some really great material out that would be wild in a text book --evidence on how people died, what they ate, what they brought with them--things like Roman artifacts... really great stuff. I commend them to you.


FranIAm said...

"do think theologically almost all the time....sometimes that makes the world very difficult!"

Very difficult, but very beautiful indeed.