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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Digging into naval hero's history
John Paul Jones Museum
A dig has started around the cottage birthplace of Jones
An archaeological dig has started in Dumfries and Galloway in an attempt to find out more about the Scot viewed as the founder of the United States Navy.

A US team is carrying out the investigation at the cottage where John Paul Jones was born in 1747.

They hope even traces of "trash" will shed more light on his early years.

Doctors Julie Schablinsky and Bob Neyland are leading the dig, which has been funded by the First Landing Foundation project of Virginia City.

Dr Schablinksy said she believed there was a good chance that interesting artefacts could be found at Arbigland near Kirkbean.

I think any sort of find that would include a feature like a concentration of artefacts or even old outbuildings would really add to our knowledge about how John Paul lived
Dr Julie Schablinsky

"I think there is a lot of potential to find something here," she said.

"Although the cottage has been modified over time and there has been some utility work there are a lot of areas that could still hold intact deposits from the time period of John Paul Jones.

"We would expect to find in both the back yard and the side yard places where they threw away their trash which is really what archaeologists try to find to reconstruct how people lived hundreds and hundreds of years ago."

The dig has been supported by the First Landing Foundation - a group dedicated to exploring the history of the Virginia area.

Dr Schablinsky added that any information could be vital in piecing together the story of the Solway-born sailor.

"I think any sort of find that would include a feature like a concentration of artefacts or even old outbuildings would really add to our knowledge about how John Paul lived," she said.

Famous battle

Jones made his first voyage to America as a ship's apprentice at the age of 13.

He took his first command at 21 and at 29 he joined the fledgling American, or Continental, Navy.

In 1779 he fought his most famous battle against the British Navy when at the helm of the Bonhomme Richard he engaged the frigate Serapis off Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire coast.

Apparently losing the battle, Jones and his men boarded the British frigate and captured it.

Jones died in France in 1792 but in 1905 the US brought his remains back for burial in the crypt of the naval academy chapel.




SEE ALSO
The Solway's all-American hero
21 Nov 06 |  South of Scotland
Experts seek to find famous wreck
22 Jun 06 |  South of Scotland
Alarm sounded over museum future
20 Mar 06 |  Scotland
New search for US hero's warship
31 Oct 05 |  North Yorkshire

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