175 Makers of History: William M. Kelso

William M. Kelso 71PhD
Archaeologist

William Kelso

William M. Kelso has built a thirty-year reputation as a leading archaeologist in early American history.

He served as director of archaeology at Carter's Grove near Colonial Williamsburg, at Monticello, and at Jefferson's second home, Poplar Forest. He has been commissioner of archaeology for the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.

In 1993, he persuaded the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities to hire him to search for James Fort, long thought to have disappeared into the James River. The fort was America's first permanent English settlement. By 1996, Kelso and a small staff of archaeologists had discovered the fort's remains. His book Jamestown: The Buried Truth focuses on major figures, including John Smith and Pocahontas, and the hardships endured by the settlers.