Falling Creek Ironworks’ 400th Anniversary – Interview with Archaeologist Lyle Browning

America wasn’t always the industrial powerhouse that it is today. She has built herself into that dynamo on the backs of people willing to take risks, risks that included sudden death by disease, starvation, and Native American attack to name a few. This was the situation in Virginia, and subsequently America’s, first attempt at heavy industry.

Falling Creek Ironworks was a Virginia Company venture that began in 1619, failed, and then tried again in 1622 before it was wiped out during Opechancanough’s 1622 massacre. Other ventures took place at Falling Creek before the site was forgotten and lost for about a century, when archaeologists began taking interest in the late 19th Century. Those 19th century archaeologists mistakenly believed that they had discovered the original 17th century ironworks, but instead found Archibald Cary’s 18th century site.

After winter storms washed out Falling Creek in 2007 Chesterfield County workers noticed  newer features that they hadn’t previously seen. That’s when Lyle Browning, an expert in ironworks archaeology was notified. Mr. Browning has conducted numerous tests at Falling Creek, which has indeed proven the whereabouts of the original 17th century ironworks established by the Virginia Company.

In this interview, Mr. Browning joins me to discuss Falling Creek’s history, importance, future plans, as well as the 400th Anniversary celebration organized by Chesterfield County.

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All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of Falling Creek in Chesterfield County, Virginia, site of the 1619 Ironworks.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “The Firebird: Infernal Dance of King Kaschei” by Igor Stavinsky also available on iTunes.