Crews have been busy at the site on Nassau Street since the fall, digging up the land, which until recently was a parking lot. But before the plot was covered in pavement, it was the place where the First Baptist congregation worshipped from around the 1770s to the 1950s.

by Kara Dixon on February 05, 2021


An archaeological project in Colonial Williamsburg is hoping to tell a story centuries in the making. Although the First Baptist Church is now located a few minutes from the Colonial Williamsburg area, its roots were planted just a block from the old cobblestone-lined road of Duke of Gloucester Street. “This is the site of one of, if not, the oldest Black churches in the country,” said Jack Gary, who is the director of archaeology and landscaping for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “We’ve gotten multiple layers at this site,” Gary said. “We’ve got an earlier building that may be the earliest church building. We have the 19th-century church, which stood for 100 years, that church was worshipped in. Then, we have the burials as well,” he said. The burials and other artifacts were found during Phase 1 of the project.