Pocahontas Revealed

Season 34, Episode 6 of 25

On May 13, 1607, three English sailing vessels drop anchor beside a small island fringed by swamps in the James River, Virginia. On board are 104 colonists who will establish the first successful English settlement in the New World at Jamestown. The exploits of the brash, swashbuckling John Smith, the wily, venerable chief Powhatan, and his infatuated daughter Pocahontas will be recited, retold, and embroidered until they gather the status of an epic founding myth of the new nation. Now, on the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, science is revealing the truth behind the myth - a saga of unparalleled adventure, greed, and savagery. Virginia archaeologists have just discovered the site of Chief Powhatan's capital, Werowocomoco, some 17 miles from Jamestown beside the York River. This is the very spot where the captive John Smith had his famous life-and-death encounter with the mighty chief, in which (so the story goes) the smitten Pocahontas begged her father to spare the Englishman's neck. NOVA has covered the excavation of this unique site for four years and for the first time reveals the Native American side of the Jamestown story. The evidence from Werowocomoco will provide a fascinating new perspective on the colonists' inevitably one-sided accounts of their sometime allies and adversaries.

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