[Northkeep] Late period ship stuff

Marc Carlson marccarlson20 at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 22 10:28:15 PST 2005

Seeing Ian's message caused me to recall something.   As some of you may 
have seen in the news, not long ago a body was uncovered in Jamestown (and 
no, I didn't find out about it until after I got back :) ) that they think 
might be the body of Bartholomew Gosnold, who died in August 1607.

While Gosnold's been being hyped as some THE founder of the first 
English-speaking colony in America and blah-blah-blah (all of which is 
untrue media emotive pooh), Gosnold is somewhat relevant since he was an 
explorer (for instance, while commanding the Concord, he "found" and named 
Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard) and earlier had sailed with Raleigh on HIS 
trip to...  someplace Spanish.  He -was- an important organizer of the 
Jamestown expedition, though not the only one.  In 1606/1607, he commanded 
the Godspeed, the middle sized ship, on the expedition, was overruled when 
he suggested that setting up a colony in a swamp was a stupid idea.  He's 
usually described in tests as having died from dysintery or malaria.  The 
actual texts just say that he was ill for 3 weeks then died.  I suspect the 
blunt force trauma to the back of the skull may have contributed to that 
(interesting detail, in August, 1607, a huge percentage of the "Gentlemen" 
who were on that expedition died suddenly.  No mention of why usually, 
although "of wounds" appears a few times in one of the journals from the 
period.  It's usually suggested that this meant Indian attack, although at 
least one of the bodies is of someone who took a bullet in the leg, and 
likely bled to death.  There's a lot that's not said in those journals...)

Anyway what brought this up was that the reason they thought this might be 
Gosnold's body is that he was buried with a "captain's staff", and the only 
sea captain to die in the early colonial period was Bartholomew Gosnold.  In 
the latest issue of American Archaeology (spring 2005) there is a picture of 
the head of said staff.


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