Bill Kelso remembers his first visit to Jamestown Island well.
A newly arrived College of William and Mary graduate student, Kelso wanted to see the fort that sheltered the colonists of the first successful English colony on the North American continent.
When Kelso asked about the fort, a park ranger pointed out toward the James River. There, he said, was where the fort was.
“The ranger told me, ‘Well, you’re going to get wet because it’s right out in the river,’ ” said Kelso, who is Jamestown Rediscovery’s director of archeology. “Conventional wisdom was that the fort washed into the river.”
For centuries it was widely accepted that erosion caused the fort to fall...