Popham Colony Dig in August 2012

From Phippsburg: The Search for Popham Colony’s Chapel

Our 15th year of looking for remains of the 1607 Popham colony “Fort St. George” went from 24 August to 2 September.  The objective was to find “post hole” evidence of where and how the site’s known chapel was located.  This dig was complicated by soil erosion that over 400 years has wiped away (or rotted out) any actual structural remains.

In 2007, a single posthole was found; this year we uncovered four possibly five more, giving us a pretty good idea of exactly where and how the chapel was located.

A secondary fantasy objective was to find the burial site of Capt. George Popham, colony leader and only colonist known to have died here.  His remains should be buried inside the confines of the chapel, and may be, but we didn’t find any evidence.  But most of this two weeks we only had three or four of us excavating, limiting the number of units we could uncover, and some of the chapel area is under the present-day roadway.

As a bonus, we found the rock-lined remains of how the settlers channeled the water of a down-hill stream for kitchen use and site drainage.

Artifacts from 1607 included West of England “North Devon” earthenware, pistol shot, lead, other small metal parts, a blue glass coat button, several hand-forged wrought iron nails.

Not bad for a bunch of old guys playing in the dirt! (Although I had a neighbor’s 11-year old open up a unit in which I finally found a significant posthole, along with the mold of the post itself.)

Peter Hutchinson