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Port Anne's Place in Colonial History*


In 1699, the Virginia Assembly was deciding the location of a new capitol city.  Needed was "... a good market... and the conveniency of a good company and good conversation... contriving a good Town and filling it with all the selectest and best company."

Thus was founded Williamsburg, and less than a mile to the south Princess Anne's Port... on College Creek -- the city's major port linking Williamsburg to local and European trade routes via the James River.

Between 1985 and 1987 an archaeological survey was conducted of the College Landing Area now called Port Anne.  Five sites of historical importance were identified dating from the eighteenth century, one Indian dating to about 1000 A.D. and one dating to the first half of the seventeenth century.

This last site, designated CL7, "represented a fairly extensive colonial domestic site and is the only one of the very early period of Middle Plantation ever excavated within the present city...The complex included a dwelling...and an access road which probably led to Archer's Hope Creek (College Creek)...It is likely that the complex was constructed in order to maintain and, in effect, guard the palisades, per the 1632 'An Act for the Seating of the Middle Plantation'. "  Over 5000 artifacts dating to the first half of the seventeenth century were recovered from this site including clay pipe fragments, ceramics and a maiden-head spoon probably dating to the late sixteenth century.  Objects recovered from the site indicate that the site's occupant was probably a fairly well-off farmer.

Today, Williamsburg is restored as the country's premier historic treasure... and Port Anne has grown and flourished as an award-winning homeowner's community of distinction.


*Archaeology at Port Anne, A Report on Site CL7, An Early 17th Century Colonial Site;
Andrew C. Edwards with contributions by William E. Pittman, Chris Hendricks and David Lester; Office of Archaeological Excavation, Department of Archaeology,   Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; July 1987; Spiral bound, 72 pages. View or download this report at Colonial Williamsburg Archives

Two articles published at the time of the excavation in 1987

Phase I and II Archaeological Investigations of the Port Anne Development, Williamsburg, Virginia, by Gregory J. Brown with contributions by William E. Pittman and Roni H. Polk. 1986. Spiral bound, 136 pages. $15.00.