William M. Kelso
William M. Kelso is the director of archaeology for the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) Jamestown Rediscovery project in Jamestown, Virginia. He has built a reputation as one of America’s foremost historical archaeologists in Early American history. Previously, he served as director of archaeology at Colonial Williamsburg’s Carter’s Grove, Monticello and Poplar Forest. Kelso is also commissioner of archaeology for the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. In 1993, Kelso’s interest in finding James Fort on Jamestown Island, Virginia led him to leave his position at Monticello to focus on persuading the APVA to hire him. Until then, the APVA had largely discouraged excavations on their land and advocated not disturbing the grounds. Kelso was able to get the association’s Board of Trustees to shift that policy and launch a 10-year archaeological search led by him. The excavation began in 1994 and just two years later, Kelso and a small staff discovered the remains of James Fort, dispelling the long-held belief that the fort was lost to the James River. This finding became APVA’s significant contribution to Virginia’s 400th anniversary celebration of Jamestown in 2007. Kelso has lectured throughout the United States and Europe. He has authored or contributed to numerous books and articles on archaeology including Jamestown: The Buried Truth (University of Virginia Press, 2008), Kingsmill Plantation, 1619-1800: Archaeology of Country Life in Colonial Virginia (University of Virginia Press, 2004), APVA Jamestown Rediscovery I: Search for 1607 James Fort (Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, 1995). Kelso earned his B.A. in history from Baldwin-Wallace College, his master’s in history from the College of William and Mary and his Ph.D. from Emory University. He resides in Jamestown, Virginia with his wife Ellen.