Gosnold DNA Sample Secured
Archaeologists have successfully obtained a sample for DNA analysis from a Suffolk church which they hope will prove the identity of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, one of America's unsung founding fathers.
Archaeologist Tonia Deetz Rock Works on Remains Thought to be Captain Bartholomew Gosnold at Historic Jamestowne
After four days of intense exploration at All Saints church Shelley, near Ipswich, a team of scientists representing the Church of England, APVA Preservation Virginia and the Smithsonian Institution have uncovered and analysed the remains of what they believe is Gosnold's sister, Elizabeth Gosnold Tilney. The exploration and DNA analysis are supported by the National Geographic Society.
An attempt to locate the remains of Katherine Blackerby, Gosnold's niece in the family vault beneath the floor of St Peter & St Mary in Stowmarket was unsuccessful. Below the ledger stone for Thomas Blackerby, the archaeologists found the 19th century brick built vault of the Boby family. Consequently, no human remains were disturbed.
Shelley's sample will be analysed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.. Results will be compared to a sample taken from the remains of a burial excavated in 2003 at Historic Jamestowne in Virginia, believed to be those of Gosnold. Suffolk born Gosnold was the prime mover of the first permanent English speaking settlement in the New World. He died in 1607, three months after arriving in Virginia.
The Grave Shaft of Elizabeth Gosnold Tilney, Bartholomew Gosnold's Sister
The remains of Elizabeth Gosnold Tilney were not removed from the ground. Immediately after the excavation was completed, Shelley's Rector Canon David Stranack, conducted a quiet ceremony over the grave shaft. A plain wooden cross was placed on the remains before the site was covered.
"I am delighted with how well the exploration has gone," said James Halsall, the Gosnold project coordinator for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich. "The excavations have been thoroughly professional and the remains have been dealt with respectfully."
Dr. William Kelso, the Director of Archaeology for APVA Preservation Virginia, who has over seen the digs said, "I want to thank the members of the parishes and the diocese for allowing the research to take place and for their patience and assistance throughout the process."
The results of the DNA comparison will be revealed on the National Geographic Channel's signature series EXPLORER later this year.