Archaeologists on the site of America’s first permanent English settlement at Jamestown are attempting to recreate the ‘mud-and-stud’ building techniques of the colony’s first buildings, using local clay, loam and black needle rush grass.
Preservation Virginia archaeologist David Givens and the students of Historic Jamestowne will use archaeological evidence from the site and traditional Lincolnshire building techniques to rediscover the dying art of building with mud.
The first evidence of mud-and-stud buildings at the Jamestown site was unearthed in the mid-1990s. A Time Team Special in 2007, ‘Jamestown: America’s Birthplace‘, highlighted how the design of the houses appeared to originate in eastern Lincolnshire; documentary evidence confirmed that the settlers’ chief carpenter was a Lincolnshire man called William Laxon (or Laxton), as was Captain John Smith – the leading figure in the founding of the colony.
David Givens told the Daily Press, “We know the materials used in the mud-and-stud buildings here pretty well. What we don’t know much about is the implementation. This is a lost art. So we’re trying to use this reconstruction process to get back into the mindset of the colonists and see how it was done.”