Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Archeologists May Have Solved Mystery of the 'Lost Colony'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Archeologists May Have Solved Mystery of the 'Lost Colony'

Article excerpt

In 1587, a group of 115 men, women, and children made the first attempt to found a permanent English colony in the New World. Led by Englishman John White, the group settled on Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina.

Later that year, Mr. White made a trip to England for more supplies, but when he returned some three years later, he found the colony abandoned and looted. The only clues of the missing settlers were the word "Croatoan" carved on a post and the letters "CRO" etched into a tree trunk.

Since then, archaeologists, explorers and historians have been trying to uncover the mystery of this "Lost Colony," but have found very few answers - until now.

Two separate teams of archeologists claim they have discovered evidence that suggests the lost colonists may have divided into two factions and moved inland, each assimilating into a different Native American community, National Geographic reports.

One team has been excavating at a site on Hatteras Island called Cape Creek, about 50 miles southeast of the Roanoke Island settlement, where they found several European objects that can be traced back to the colonists.

"The evidence is that they assimilated with the Native Americans but kept their goods," Mark Horton, an archaeologist at Britain's Bristol University who heads the excavation on Hatteras, told National Geographic.

Mr. Horton's team came across a particularly peculiar item at the Cape Creek site: a small piece of slate that was used as a writing tablet, along with a lead pencil, similar to a larger slate found at Jamestown earlier. The slate bears a small letter "M," a clue that suggests it had been owned by someone who could read or write, Horton says.

"This wasn't useful for trade, but was owned by an educated European," he adds.

While Horton's team was digging up these telling discoveries, another group was excavating on the mainland about 50 miles to the northwest of the lost colony, in a location dubbed Site X. …

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