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article imageResearchers may have solved 17th century murder in Virginia

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 27, 2013 in Science
Jamestown - A group of researchers in Virginia believe they may have found the answer to an unsolved mystery. The murder occurred in the 1600s at Jamestown.
A team of researchers has uncovered what they think to be a possible answer to a death that occurred hundreds of years ago. In 1996 archaeologists located human remains under an old roadbed in Jamestown, Va. near a church. Until this time, the grave had been unknown, but experts ascertained the remains were that of a colonial settler.
The remains were identified with a tag indicating "JR102C". While the estimated era of death was determined, the person's identity was not known.
Until now.
New research believes the man buried in the churchyard was part of a duel that took place in 1624 between George Harrison and Richard Stephens. Experts believe Harrison was the victim who had been buried in the grave.
According to The Jamestown Rediscovery Project, what had been previously determined was the deceased was a white male, approximately 19 years of age and about 5 feet, 9 inches tall. A lead musket ball was found on his bone. It is believed this gunshot was the cause of death. The type of injury has been described as one that would have led the victim to bleed to death within minutes, reported NPR.
“This wound shows that the person was killed by getting hit in the side of the knee. So in a duel, you stand sideways and this would come through like that,” William Kelso, Director of Archaeological Research and Interpretation for the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, said, reported WTKR News.
Kelso did indicate there are still questions, especially about the type of ammunition.
“That’s a combat round. It’s almost like a shotgun but it also has a main bullet. So you wouldn’t think unless somebody was cheating in the duel that they would have that kind of a load,” he said.
Stephens, a merchant who later became a court commissioner, died around 1636.
Reportedly, other graves have been found in the churchyard near the one "JR102C" was placed in.
Related reading about graves in Jamestown: Jamestown Rediscovery
More about Jamestown, Virginia, 17th century, Murder, Duel
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