Science and Technology News

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Testing Colonists' Water at Historic Jamestowne

Inside the reconstructed palisade of the fort at historic Jamestowne, geologists (left to right) Doug Rowland, Greg Hancock and Jim Kaste from the College of William & Mary prepare to draw water from one of the wells used by the original colonists of John Smith's Virginia Company. They're analyzing the water from the colonists' aquifer for a slate of impurities that starts at salt and ends at arsenic.

Drinking water with high levels of arsenic, high salinity, various metals and fecal contamination from the colonists' latrines is a possible contributing cause of the deaths at Jamestown Island during the Starving Time of 1609 and 1610. (Date of Image: 2011)

Credit: Stephen Salpukas, College of William & Mary

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