The slate is covered with faint inscriptions of local birds, flowers, a tree and caricatures of men, along with letters and numbers, according to Preservation Virginia, which jointly operates the dig site with the National Park Service. It was found May 11 at the center of James Fort, which was established in 1607 along the James River in eastern Virginia.
Research director William Kelso said the inscriptions were made with a slate pencil on the 4-inch-by-8-inch slate. The writings were wiped off, but they left grooves on the surface, he said.
“There were things written over things, written over things,” Kelso said.