Arqueólogos americanos discordam sobre a mais recente teoria da colônia de Roanoke

Arqueólogos americanos discordam sobre a mais recente teoria da colônia de Roanoke

Pesquisadores americanos apresentaram novas evidências arqueológicas do que eles acham que representa os sobreviventes da colônia perdida de Roanoke em Bertie County, Carolina do Norte, vivendo entre populações nativas. No entanto, especialistas estabelecidos em Roanoke questionaram fortemente as novas descobertas relacionadas a esta última teoria da colônia de Roanoke. A visão estabelecida do destino dos colonos Roanoke difere da teoria da colônia Roanoke mais recente, que sugere que alguns sobreviveram e viveram suas vidas no que hoje é o Condado de Bertie.

Na década de 1580 DC, a Rainha Elizabeth I comandou o famoso explorador Sir Walter Raleigh para se aventurar no Novo Mundo e fundar a primeira colônia inglesa permanente na América do Norte, a Colônia Roanoke. Depois que Humphrey Gilbert reivindicou St. John's, Newfoundland, em 1583, Roanoke foi o segundo assentamento inglês estabelecido em 1585 DC na Ilha Roanoke, no Condado de Dare, Carolina do Norte. E depois que essa colônia falhou, uma segunda colônia foi fundada lá por John White em 1587 DC.

Foi este segundo assentamento de ingleses que ficou conhecido como a “Colônia Perdida” devido ao desaparecimento inexplicável de toda a sua população de cerca de 100 pessoas, representando um dos mais antigos mistérios não resolvidos da América. E embora a mais nova teoria da colônia Roanoke pareça mostrar o que realmente aconteceu com a colônia perdida, nem todos estão convencidos.

A mais recente teoria da colônia de Roanoke cria sérias questões

A maioria dos arqueólogos concorda que os colonos Roanoke provavelmente foram mortos por, ou assimilados por uma tribo indígena, ou que as pessoas morreram de doenças ou condições climáticas extremas, ou que eles simplesmente se mudaram para um local ainda desconhecido. Mas agora, de acordo com um comunicado de imprensa do Fundação Primeira Colônia “Peças de cerâmica inglesa que datam da década de 1580, incluindo jarros e potes usados ​​para preparação, consumo e armazenamento de alimentos, foram descobertos no condado de Bertie.” Os pesquisadores da última teoria da colônia de Roanoke afirmam que os artefatos recuperados do “Site Y” de Bertie County indicam uma habitação de longo prazo pelos sobreviventes de Roanoke.

Fragmentos das primeiras cerâmicas inglesas que foram encontrados em Bertie County, Virgínia, por arqueólogos que trabalharam com a Fundação da Primeira Colônia, que são a evidência primária para a mais recente teoria da colônia Roanoke. ( Fundação Primeira Colônia )

De acordo com um relatório no Virginian-Pilot esta nova área de escavação compreende 72 locais de escavação, cada um medindo cinco pés quadrados (1,24 metros quadrados). Phil Evans, presidente da Fundação Primeira Colônia, diz que esses artefatos sugerem que cerca de uma dúzia de pessoas de pelo menos uma família da colônia perdida de Roanoke "viviam lá, e possivelmente alguns criados". Os artefatos encontrados no local da escavação Site-Y incluem um “frasco de Martincamp e uma jarra de azeitona espanhola”, o que sugere que os ingleses elisabetanos viveram aqui por muito tempo. Evans disse que a cerâmica recém-encontrada é semelhante à cerâmica encontrada no Fort Raleigh Historic Site na Ilha Roanoke, e aos itens encontrados no Colônia de Jamestown local.

O Sr. Evan dá um salto de fé apresentando peças de cerâmica colonial e ligando-as aos colonos Roanoke perdidos. E por esta razão, e muitas outras, o grupo arqueológico, o Sociedade Arqueológica Croatoan , disse ao Virginian-Pilot "é improvável que os membros da Lost Colony vivessem no Condado de Bertie." O lado duvidoso acredita que a cerâmica inglesa poderia ter “sido negociada com os nativos, que a deixaram onde foi descoberta”.

  • A misteriosa colônia perdida da Ilha Roanoke desapareceu, deixando para trás uma mensagem estranha
  • Novos artefatos encontrados na famosa colônia de Roanoke perdida da América
  • Arqueólogos descobrem evidências tentadoras da colônia perdida de Roanoke

Rastreando os Colonos Perdidos da Ilha Roanoke

Em junho deste ano eu escrevi um Origens Antigas reportagem em que citei o livro de 2010 do historiador James Horn Um Reino Estranho: A Breve e Trágica História da Colônia Perdida de Roanoke , o que explica que a segunda onda de cerca de 150 colonos que chegaram à Ilha Roanoke em 1587 DC descobriram a palavra “CROATOAN” e “CRO” esculpida em uma árvore. Isso foi interpretado como significando que os colonos tinham ido com os Croatoans (uma tribo indígena local) para a Ilha de Hatteras, explicando por que White nunca encontrou a colônia quando voltou.

Pintura do inglês John White da Expedição de Sir Walter Raleigh em 1590 à Ilha Roanoke para encontrar a Colônia Perdida, onde encontraram "Croatoan" esculpido em uma árvore. Isso pode se referir à Ilha Croatoan ou ao povo Croatoan. (John White / )

Desafiando a teoria do autor Horn, o Sr. Evans postula que o grupo de White deve ter "se dispersado em grupos menores, já que uma única tribo indígena não poderia ter sustentado cerca de 100 colonos ingleses adicionais." O Sr. Evans continua a teorizar que um pequeno grupo talvez tenha ido para a Ilha Croatoan no outono ou inverno de 1587 DC para esperar o retorno de John White, enquanto o restante se mudou para o interior para a foz do Rio Chowan e Salmon Creek, e deixou o artefatos descobertos recentemente em Bertie County.

A mais recente teoria da colônia de Roanoke é vista como errada

o Sociedade Arqueológica Croatoan discorda abertamente com o Sr. Evans novo Ideias, a manutenção das evidências prova que a colônia inglesa perdida "assimilou os Croatoans na Ilha de Hatteras". Talvez seu maior argumento contra a nova localização do Sr. Evan em Bertie County, foi apresentado por Scott Dawson, que fundou a Sociedade Arqueológica Croatoan. Ele disse ao piloto da Virgínia que Bertie estava "no coração do território inimigo" e que era "o último lugar para onde eles iriam". Ele também aponta para o fato de que White pediu aos colonos para deixarem uma mensagem caso eles seguissem em frente, e que eles "literalmente escreveram que se mudaram para Croatoan, em uma árvore".

Será que algum dia encontraremos Eldorado, a cidade perdida do ouro? Será que algum dia recuperaremos os Três Tesouros Sagrados do Japão ou as paredes de painel cintilantes da desaparecida Sala Âmbar de São Petersburgo? Tesouros tentadores e cidades desaparecidas aguardam pela redescoberta. Já encontramos a famosa cidade de Tróia e desenterramos lindos artefatos em tumbas misteriosas. Isso prova que a busca pelos achados e perdidos (e achados e perdidos) da história é uma busca valiosa e vital! Encontre as respostas no Especial da Ancient Origins Magazine aqui .

Dawson está tão convencido de que sua teoria está correta que publicou recentemente um livro intitulado “ A Colônia Perdida e a Ilha Hatteras , ”Em cooperação com arqueólogos no Universidade de Bristol , destacando a vida das culturas nativas americanas que habitaram essas paisagens por milhares de anos antes das primeiras chegadas de europeus no século 16 DC. Este livro fornece evidências arqueológicas e históricas convincentes de que os colonos perdidos de Roanoke realmente se mudaram para a Ilha de Hatteras. E esta teoria não requer nenhum "salto de fé" para fazer sentido, ao contrário da teoria de Evan.


Os especialistas acreditam que encontraram a colônia americana perdida de Roanoke

O mistério da colônia Roanoke perdida foi resolvido? Um especialista local parece ter desenterrado evidências convincentes! O desaparecimento de 115 pessoas no século 16 é um quebra-cabeça duradouro do Novo Mundo. Eles simplesmente partiram ou algo terrível aconteceu com eles? De qualquer forma, o grupo nunca mais foi visto.

A Ilha de Hatteras é considerada um lugar para onde os colonos foram, depois de abandonar sua nova casa (que se tornou o Condado de Dare NC). A ilha foi anteriormente nomeada em homenagem aos Croatoans, uma tribo nativa americana que vivia lá. O técnico de emergência médica e arqueólogo em tempo parcial Scott Dawson é um dos residentes de hoje. Ele percebeu que foi aqui que os pioneiros de Roanoke terminaram & # 8211 tudo o que ele precisava fazer era provar isso.

Em 2009, ele e Mark Horton, da Universidade de Bristol, começaram a explorar a área. Citado pelo Daily Mail, Horton diz que "erupções políticas massivas e desacordos e pessoas saindo e coisas assim" provavelmente se seguiram depois que Roanoke desmoronou. Isso pode ter levado à fragmentação social. “Eu & # 8217 estou bastante confiante de que pelo menos um grupo, provavelmente a parte bastante substancial, veio para a Ilha de Hatteras”, acrescenta.

Demorou alguns anos, mas em 2013 Dawson, Horton e sua equipe tiraram a sorte grande do artefato. Milhares de itens foram recuperados da ilha, muitos deles da tribo Croatoan. No entanto, partes do tesouro podem ser conectadas a colonos brancos. O que foi encontrado? Ao lado de ferramentas tribais, armas e contas foram escritas em ardósias e um florete de ferro. O mais interessante é que alguns objetos foram adaptados para outros usos. Por exemplo, um brinco de cobre foi transformado em anzol.

John White e outros encontram uma árvore na qual está gravada a palavra & # 8216Croatoan & # 8217 na colônia perdida da Ilha Roanoke, 1590. 3 anos antes, White havia deixado um grupo de colonos na ilha e retornado à Inglaterra para suprimentos, com a intenção de voltar em breve, mas as circunstâncias impediram seu retorno imediato. Quando ele voltou para a colônia, ela foi abandonada apenas com a palavra na árvore como uma pista (a vizinha Ilha de Hatteras era então conhecida como Croatoan). (Foto por Stock Montage / Getty Images)

“Não acredito que encontramos o que encontramos”, comentou Dawson ao canal de notícias local The Outer Banks Voice. “É meio surreal ... Não encontramos apenas evidências de arquitetura mista de casas, mas também de metalurgia, onde havia ferrarias e também trabalhavam com cobre e chumbo, e isso continuou até os anos 1600. É difícil dizer quantos, mas pelo menos algumas dezenas viveram por algumas décadas lá nas aldeias e continuaram a trabalhar nos metais. ”

No entanto, agora a equipe acredita que localizou o verdadeiro "acampamento do sobrevivente", onde os colonos chegaram em Hatteras antes de serem assimilados pela tribo Croatoan. Uma escavação arqueológica foi programada para confirmar sua análise e trazer quaisquer artefatos a serem encontrados, mas a atual situação de saúde global atrasou as respostas finais.

A árvore genealógica de Dawson com base na ilha remonta aos tempos coloniais. Ele escreveu um livro sobre suas experiências, 'The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island', que “conta a história do que arqueólogos de todo o mundo descobriram sob a superfície de antigas aldeias nativas americanas do passado e quais impactos essas descobertas têm sobre a narrativa do assentamento de 1587 que desapareceu de Roanoke ”.

Mapa de Virginea Pars, desenhado por John White durante sua visita inicial em 1585. Roanoke é a pequena ilha rosa no meio à direita do mapa.

Além de Hatteras, a equipe verificou Buxton e Frisco, duas aldeias históricas de nativos americanos. Na verdade, esses últimos locais renderam tanto interesse que Hatteras só foi devidamente embaixo da pá mais tarde.

Para Dawson, a narrativa Croatoan é tão importante quanto a dos colonos desaparecidos. “Eles não mostraram nada além de amor, caridade e gentileza ao receber essas pessoas e alimentá-los e assimilar com eles e mostrar-lhes amor e bondade”, ele diz ao Outer Banks Voice, “e ninguém sabe quem eles são”.

Roanoke deveria ser o primeiro triunfo da expansão da Rainha Elizabeth I para o Novo Mundo. Em 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh partiu e lançou as bases, mas o experimento inicial falhou. A comida acabou e os colonos enfrentaram a hostilidade dos nativos.

Alguns anos depois, o homem de Raleigh, o governador John White, assumiu outro grupo. Incluía sua filha Eleanor White Dare. Ela deu à luz Virginia Dare, o primeiro bebê inglês do Novo Mundo. John White voltou para casa, mas teve que esperar 3 anos antes que pudesse chegar a Roanoke & # 8211 guerra com a Espanha jogou uma chave inglesa nas obras. Ele finalmente colocou os pés de volta na colônia para encontrar o lugar deserto.

& # 8220A Carte de Toda a Costa da Virgínia, & # 8221 gravura de Theodor de Bry baseada no mapa de John White & # 8217 da costa da Virgínia e da Carolina do Norte por volta de 1585-1586.

Uma pista importante era um poste de madeira com "Croatoan" esculpido nele. Os especialistas veem isso como um destino provável para os colonos. Embora também possa ter indicado um ataque, essa ideia não é válida para Dawson. Roanoke estava negociando e morando com o povo Croatoan na época, e as coisas pareciam amigáveis ​​o suficiente. Os croatoanos falavam inglês. O pensamento atual é que Eleanor e companhia não apenas criaram um "acampamento de sobreviventes", mas se integraram à tribo.

Dawson disse ao Outer Banks Voice que quando “ele (White) viu aquela mensagem três anos depois, ele não disse: 'Meu Deus, o que essa palavra significa.' Ele sabia exatamente onde era e por que eles estavam lá, e ele disse isso. ” Infelizmente, o pai ansioso foi impedido de pousar na Ilha Croatoan devido às condições meteorológicas. Ele nunca soube se Eleanor e Virginia estavam lá.

& # 8220CRO & # 8221 escrito em uma árvore, parte da apresentação de Roanoke Lost Colony no Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Foto de Sarah Stierch CC por 3.0

Para esta equipe arqueológica, o desaparecimento é mais uma lenda do que uma realidade. De onde veio a ideia de uma “Colônia Perdida”? Dawson aponta o dedo para uma produção teatral dos anos 1930. “É a primeira vez que alguém se refere a eles como perdidos”, diz ele. “Não foi feita uma peça sobre um mistério - eles criaram um mistério com uma peça.”

Horton faz questão de apontar o ponto de vista da Ilha Hatteras. Com uma boa vista para o mar, é possivelmente o melhor lugar para esperar a chegada de navios da Inglaterra.

Claro que existem outras teorias sobre o que aconteceu na colônia. Em 2016, American Horror Story dedicou sua sexta temporada a Roanoke, mantendo o mito vivo. Doença ou algo mais violento são duas opções por trás do local vazio. A varíola certamente estava em liberdade, e acredita-se que os croatoanos tenham morrido no século seguinte.

History.com escreve que “Em 1998, arqueólogos estudando dados de anéis de árvores da Virgínia descobriram que condições extremas de seca persistiram entre 1587 e 1589. Essas condições sem dúvida contribuíram para o desaparecimento da chamada Colônia Perdida”.

Depois, há as infames Dare Stones. O primeiro foi descoberto em 1937, apresentando um relato de dificuldades e violência escrito por alguém que poderia ter sido Eleanor. Lê-se que a bebê Virginia e seu marido Ananias foram mortos pelos nativos americanos. “De acordo com especialistas, a pedra diz que mais da metade dos colonos morreram e eventualmente houve a notícia de que um navio havia chegado ao largo da costa”, escreve o Mail. “Os nativos americanos temeram que os europeus se vingassem, então fugiram. Logo depois disso, os xamãs alertaram sobre os espíritos raivosos e todos, exceto sete do restante dos colonos foram mortos ”. Outras pedras foram descobertas, mas o arranjo é geralmente considerado uma farsa.

Dawson e seus colegas exploradores terão que esperar até o próximo ano para extrair mais informações. Esperançosamente, algo conclusivo será encontrado e o livro encerrado nesta saga preocupante da identidade americana ...


A ‘Colônia Perdida’ de Roanoke nunca foi perdida, diz um novo livro

Um novo livro visa resolver uma questão secular sobre o que aconteceu a um grupo de colonos ingleses. Arqueólogos disseram que sua teoria era plausível, mas que mais evidências eram necessárias.

Em 1590, o candidato a governador de uma colônia que deveria ser um dos primeiros postos avançados da Inglaterra na América do Norte descobriu que mais de 100 colonos não estavam na pequena ilha onde ele os deixou.

Mais de 400 anos depois, a questão do que aconteceu com aqueles colonos, que desembarcaram na Ilha Roanoke, na costa da moderna Carolina do Norte, cresceu e se tornou um pedaço da mitologia americana, peças inspiradoras, romances, documentários e uma indústria do turismo no Outer Banks.

Criaram raízes histórias de que os colonos, que não deixaram nenhum traço claro além da palavra “Croatoan” esculpida em uma árvore, sobreviveram em algum lugar no continente, morreram em conflito com os nativos americanos ou encontraram algum outro fim.

Um novo livro sobre os colonos, “A Colônia Perdida e a Ilha de Hatteras”, publicado em junho e citando 10 anos de escavações na vizinha Ilha de Hatteras, visa colocar o mistério na cama. O autor do livro, Scott Dawson, um pesquisador de Hatteras, argumenta que os povos nativos que viveram lá acolheram os colonos ingleses e que registros históricos e artefatos podem encerrar o debate.

“Basicamente, as evidências históricas dizem que foi para lá que eles foram”, disse Mark Horton, arqueólogo da Universidade de Bristol, na Inglaterra, que trabalhou com Dawson. O Dr. Horton reconheceu que não havia uma "arma fumegante", mas disse que com tudo no contexto, "não é ciência de foguetes".

Historiadores e arqueólogos não envolvidos nas pesquisas recentes sobre Hatteras foram mais céticos, dizendo que as evidências eram inconclusivas e que eles queriam ver trabalhos revisados ​​por pares. Eles também disseram que o argumento não era novo: a ideia de que os croatoanos, como eram chamados os povos nativos de Hatteras, adotaram pelo menos alguns dos colonos há muito é considerada plausível.

“Claro, é possível - por que não seria?” disse Malinda Maynor Lowery, professora de história da Universidade da Carolina do Norte em Chapel Hill. “As pessoas não se perdem. Eles são assassinados, são roubados, são levados para dentro. Eles vivem e morrem como membros de outras comunidades. ”

A Dra. Maynor Lowery apresentou uma possibilidade semelhante em seu livro de 2018 sobre a história do povo Lumbee, os descendentes de dezenas de tribos em uma vasta região, incluindo o leste da Carolina do Norte. Apesar da violência dos ingleses contra os aldeões croatoanos, ela escreveu, os colonos provavelmente se refugiaram com eles.

“Os índios de Roanoke, Croatoan, Secotan e outras aldeias não tinham motivos para fazer inimigos dos colonos”, escreveu ela. "Em vez disso, eles provavelmente os tornaram parentes."

Os ingleses entraram em uma complicada batalha de conflitos e mudanças de alianças, disse Lauren McMillan, professora da Universidade de Mary Washington em Fredericksburg, Virgínia.

“Eles estão todos interagindo, e esses diferentes grupos estão tentando usar o inglês uns contra os outros”, disse ela. “Os croatoanos talvez considerassem os ingleses um aliado poderoso e fontes de coisas novas e valiosas”.

O Dr. Maynor Lowery, que é Lumbee, acrescentou que a própria história da "colônia perdida" é baseada na premissa incorreta "que os nativos também desapareceram, o que não aconteceu".

A história, disse ela, era como "um monumento que precisa ser derrubado", acrescentando que "é mais difícil desmontar uma história de origem do que uma estátua".

Dawson, fundador da Sociedade Arqueológica Croatoan, um grupo de pesquisa local, disse esperar que seu livro desmantele parte dessa história.

“Eu estava tentando recuperar a história dos croatoans das profundezas da mitologia”, disse ele. “Eles desempenharam um grande papel na história americana, acolheram essas pessoas e na escola, você aprendeu que ninguém sabe o que Croatoan significa.”

Ele também queria contrariar a mística em torno dos colonos, que cresceu ao longo dos séculos na cultura popular. Eles foram feitos os heróis dos romances do século 19 Os simpatizantes dos confederados os amarraram com temas da "causa perdida" e um musical nacionalista ao ar livre atraiu mais de quatro milhões de pessoas, incluindo o presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt, desde 1937.

Antes dessas obras, os colonos eram notas de rodapé históricas, disse Charles Ewen, arqueólogo da East Carolina University em Greenville, Carolina do Norte. desaparecimentos ocorreram em empreendimentos europeus através do Atlântico.

“Não é um grande mistério até que você comece a obter um tipo de escrita histórica em 1800”, disse ele. “Então isso se torna o nosso grande mistério e se encaixa nas ideias racistas.”

A Dra. Ewen, que também está trabalhando em um livro sobre a colônia, disse que havia muitas histórias sobre ela, em parte porque havia tão poucas evidências sobre o que aconteceu com os colonos. Os colonos podem ter sido mortos por nativos hostis ou pelo rival da Inglaterra, os espanhóis, ou enfrentaram fome, um furacão ou naufrágio. Eles poderiam ter se mudado para o continente, aliando-se a grupos nativos de lá, ou se mudado para o povo croatoano em Hatteras.

“Não estou dizendo que não seja verdade”, disse a Dra. Ewen sobre a última teoria. “Só estou dizendo que sou muito cético.”

Os especialistas discordaram sobre o quão confiáveis ​​eram as fontes da época e da seguinte, incluindo o relato de um inglês, publicado em 1709, sobre os povos nativos de Hatteras cujos ancestrais sabiam ler.

Eles também estavam céticos de que artefatos encontrados em Hatteras, incluindo um punho de florete, ferragens de arma do final do século 16 e parte de uma placa de ardósia, pudessem ser definitivamente rastreados até os colonos. (Dr. Horton disse que estava preparando um estudo para revisão por pares na pesquisa de Hatteras.)

“É muito fácil encontrar coisas europeias misturadas com coisas nativas americanas”, disse Dennis Blanton, arqueólogo da James Madison University em Harrisonburg, Virgínia. “Havia europeus dentro e fora do Meio-Atlântico e do Sudeste por muito tempo, e muitas dessas aterrissagens foram breves, não registradas ou mal registradas. ”

Ele disse que era “muito difícil saber” como os objetos acabaram em Hatteras, dado o volume de comércio, conflito e contato ocorrendo. “Os cenários são tão variados que faz você girar a cabeça”, disse ele.

O Dr. Blanton acrescentou que alimentar e abrigar cerca de 100 colonos teria sido "uma tensão bastante significativa" na comunidade Croatoan. “Se a experiência servir de guia, a adoção de europeus em uma comunidade indígena teria sido bastante limitada”, disse ele.

James Horn, historiador e membro da Fundação First Colony, uma organização sem fins lucrativos de pesquisa, disse que a maioria dos historiadores nos últimos 50 anos considerou Hatteras um destino para os colonos. Mas ele disse que é improvável que todos os colonos tenham ido parar lá.

O Sr. Horn e um arqueólogo da Fundação da Primeira Colônia, Nicholas M. Luccketti, acreditam ter evidências de que alguns dos colonos se mudaram cerca de 80 quilômetros para o interior, para um local que chamam de Sítio X.

O Dr. Luccketti disse que os colonos poderiam ter se dividido, alguns em Hatteras, outros no Site X e outro grupo em outro lugar.

Embora não tenha havido escavações no Local X desde 2018, o Dr. Horn disse que espera que a busca por evidências continue.

“É um mistério de 400 anos que gira em torno de todos os tipos de mistérios dentro dele”, disse ele. “É muito tentador para muitas pessoas.”

O Sr. Dawson continua a liderar uma pequena equipe em Hatteras, que agora está repleta de casas de luxo e aluguel por temporada. “Eu só queria salvar algo antes que esteja embaixo da casa de 10 quartos de alguém com piscina”, disse ele. "Pelo menos podemos salvar algo para discutir."


O que aconteceu com a colônia perdida em Roanoke?

Então, o que aconteceu com os colonos Roanoke? Em última análise, ninguém sabe com certeza. Quando se trata da colônia perdida, os historiadores têm muitas teorias, mas poucas evidências concretas. O governador John White, a primeira pessoa a descobrir o desaparecimento dos colonos, relatou tudo o que viu em uma carta. Não havia ossos, como os que haviam sido deixados para trás na colônia de 1585. As casas foram "derrubadas" e não destruídas ou queimadas [fonte: Encyclopedia Virginia]. A escultura & quotCROATOAN & quot não indica perigo com uma cruz maltesa. Tudo indicava que os colonos simplesmente pegaram e partiram.

De acordo com a carta de White, os colonos estavam preparados para se deslocar "50 milhas para o maine". Isso pode significar que eles se mudaram para o continente, para as florestas da Carolina do Norte [fonte: Keiger].

Outra explicação é que os colonos Roanoke foram vítimas dos espanhóis, cujo assentamento ficava na costa da Flórida. É certo que os espanhóis nas Índias Ocidentais sabiam da presença dos colonos ingleses. Um colono Roanoke chamado Darby Glande deixou a expedição de 1587 assim que desembarcou em Porto Rico para levar suprimentos. Mais tarde, ele relatou que disse às autoridades espanholas a localização do assentamento de Roanoke [fonte: Keiger].

Na opinião do antropólogo da Universidade Johns Hopkins, Lee Miller, os colonos foram deliberadamente deixados em Roanoke por Sir Francis Walsingham, secretário de Estado da Rainha Elizabeth I, na esperança de que a colônia não sobrevivesse, para derrubar Sir Walter Raleigh, um dos favoritos de a rainha. Raleigh, que havia financiado as expedições a Roanoke, havia recebido uma patente para todas as terras no Novo Mundo que pudesse colonizar, mas ele queria que o último grupo se estabelecesse na área da Baía de Chesapeake. Os colonos inadvertidamente entraram em uma violenta mudança no equilíbrio de poder entre as tribos do interior. Os índios com quem os colonos eram amigos perderam o controle da área e os nativos americanos hostis aos colonos assumiram o controle. Se os colonos Roanoke fizessem a viagem para o interior quando isso aconteceu, os homens provavelmente teriam sido mortos e as mulheres e crianças capturadas como escravas. Os colonos teriam então sido negociados ao longo de uma rota que abrangia a costa dos Estados Unidos da atual Geórgia até a Virgínia [fonte: Keiger].

Também é concebível que os colonos tiveram um destino menos violento e foram para a Ilha Croatoan, que ficava a 80 quilômetros Sul do assentamento. Os colonos de Jamestown enviaram vários grupos de busca para encontrar membros da colônia perdida e criaram o hábito de questionar qualquer nativo americano com quem os membros de Jamestown fizeram contato. Alguns desses nativos contaram histórias de assentamentos brancos mais ao longo da costa, com casas de dois andares com telhado de palha, um estilo exclusivo dos ingleses. Outros falaram de tribos próximas que sabiam ler inglês e se vestiam de maneira semelhante aos europeus. Talvez o relato mais dramático de Jamestown tenha sido o avistamento de um menino vestido como um nativo. Ele tinha cabelos loiros e pele clara.

Esses relatórios corroboram a teoria mais amplamente aceita sobre o que aconteceu com os colonos Roanoke: eles foram assimilados por alguma tribo nativa americana amigável. Ao longo das gerações, os casamentos mistos entre os nativos e os ingleses produziriam um terceiro grupo distinto. Este grupo pode ser a tribo Lumbee.

A tribo Lumbee é nativa da Carolina do Norte, mas nenhuma linhagem pode ser determinada. A história oral da tribo os liga aos colonos Roanoke, e essa tradição é apoiada por alguns de seus sobrenomes e pela habilidade da tribo de ler e escrever em inglês. Os nomes de família de alguns dos colonos Roanoke, como Dial, Hyatt e Taylor, foram compartilhados por membros da tribo Lumbee já em 1719. Os colonos que os conheceram ficaram surpresos ao encontrar nativos americanos que tinham olhos cinzentos e falavam inglês. Mesmo dentro da tribo Lumbee, a veracidade da ligação do grupo com os colonos Roanoke está em disputa. o Conexão Lumbee, como passou a ser chamado, é intrigante.

Escavações recentes em Bertie County, Carolina do Norte, continuam a desvendar o mistério. Lá, em um local chamado Site X (como em & quotX marca o local & quot), os arqueólogos encontraram dezenas de artefatos de estilo inglês que datam do século XVI. O local, que fica próximo à foz de Salmon Creek, fica perto de uma grande comunidade nativa americana chamada Mettaquem. As novas descobertas das escavações incluíram selos de chumbo de fardos de tecido, componentes de armas de fogo e ganchos destinados a esticar peles de animais. Em um local adjacente (apropriadamente denominado "Local Y"), os pesquisadores descobriram oito tipos diferentes de cerâmica [fonte: Emery].

É possível que uma seca severa e a subsequente incapacidade de cultivar as plantações tenham levado a colônia de seu local original para os Locais X e Y. Os historiadores acreditam que os Locais X e Y podem ter sido uma espécie de comunidade substituta, apresentando um pequeno número de colonos ingleses - não a colônia inteira. Esse grupo fragmentado pode ter sido rapidamente integrado às tribos nativas locais, diluindo seu sangue inglês e apagando um registro do que aconteceu com a colônia original.

Por enquanto, a pesquisa continua. Em 2019, historiadores e arqueólogos foram incentivados pelo N.C. Coastal Land Trust, que comprou as terras ao redor dos Sítios X e Y para evitar que fossem transformadas em um conjunto habitacional. Essa terra agora está sob controle do Estado e será transformada em uma reserva natural, onde os pesquisadores podem continuar seu trabalho sem medo de que seus locais sejam demolidos e convertidos em moradias [fonte: Lawler].

Portanto, as escavações meticulosas continuarão no futuro previsível. Talvez um dia, em breve, eles descobrirão as pistas que finalmente encerrarão o mistério da colônia há muito perdida de Roanoke.


O que realmente aconteceu em Roanoke?

Mais de 400 anos depois, ainda não temos certeza do que aconteceu com aqueles colonos em Roanoke. A ciência melhorou aos trancos e barrancos desde então, mas mesmo as técnicas de sensoriamento remoto revelaram apenas indícios vagos, como a existência de poços de queima, detectados por magnetômetros de longo alcance. Comparado com o que AHS implica, e com base nessas pistas, as teorias dominantes que explicam o que aconteceu com a colônia Roanoke são bastante inofensivas: Uma doença do Novo Mundo se espalhou entre os colonos cujos corpos transatlânticos foram mistificados pelos novos germes e subsequentemente morreram em massa, ou talvez por um levante violento ocorreu e forçou os colonos a pegar e seguir para o continente.

Mas uma teoria recente aponta para Albemarle Sound, um estuário localizado a 50 milhas de distância e no oposto direção de onde os arqueólogos olharam até agora. Pode ser um candidato promissor para explicar o que aconteceu a um grupo de colonos em fuga. Eric Klingelhoffer, arqueólogo da Mercer University em Macon, Geórgia, disse Geografia nacional em 2013, aquele teste de solo mostrou um navio de madeira submerso no subsolo e que artefatos que datam do século 16 estavam dentro. “Fizemos algumas fotografias aéreas”, disse Klingelhoffer em uma entrevista. “[Usamos] radar de penetração no solo no local mais promissor para a atividade elizabetana.”

O sensoriamento remoto é uma coisa bem de alta tecnologia. De acordo com a Administração Oceânica e Atmosférica Nacional, o sensoriamento remoto usa radares para detectar “energia” que retorna para uma aeronave ou satélite acima de uma superfície específica. Essa energia, seja na forma de luz solar refletida ou feixes de laser, é refletida do sensor para a superfície e de volta para o sensor novamente. Essa técnica é comumente usada para rastrear mudanças nas ondas do oceano e prever o clima ou para originar tsunamis e terremotos. É altamente preciso e requer basicamente nenhuma interferência nos habitats naturais. No entanto, é incrivelmente caro (embora os custos estejam caindo) e, como um cientista afirmou sem rodeios em um relatório da NASA, "Você ainda precisa se esforçar para construir a terra." Em outras palavras, está tudo bem Piu Piu alguns feixes de laser em rochas, solo e oceanos, mas leva o antigo Indiana Jones method of swinging through ravines and digging through marshes to actually confirm what’s going on.

In the case of Roanoke, solving the colony’s mystery is an almost impossible — though researchers stress não impossible — feat. For one thing, the stuff we’re looking for is over 400 years old. The onset of climate change is fast and furious, and, combined with erosion, could disintegrate a lot of artifacts that might have otherwise proven the existence of a runaway colony (remember, this is 16th-century England we’re talking about, so the objects are probably made of wood, which any time in water will destroy).

In 2015, there seemed to be some headway in the search for Roanoke 50 miles southeast in Hatteras Island: Researchers stumbled upon “a sword hilt, broken English bowls, and a fragment of a slate writing tablet still inscribed with a letter,” according to National Geographic. But were these trade items passing through the area? Can we really know if they were just dropped here on accident or were left by colonists? We don’t know, and it leads us back to square one: Roanoke remains a frustratingly bizarre mystery that somehow has defied not just time but science and its myriad of advances as well.

So back to the sixth season of AHS. Presented as a fictional documentary series titled “My Roanoke Nightmare” — despite lasers, radars, shovels, and sheer human investigation and morbid curiosity for the past 400 years — we still have no clue at all what happened to Roanoke. That makes for a real historical and scientific nightmare.


What Do We Know?

The lost colonists were the third group of English arrivals on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island, settling near the modern-day town of Manteo.

The first group to arrive, in 1584, came to explore and map the land for future groups. A second group, which arrived in 1585, was charged with a military and scientific mission. But this second group's trip was far from peaceful.

"That's where tensions begin [with the local Native American tribes]," said Clay Swindell of the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a member of the archaeology team investigating the colony. He says that this second group was driven out in 1586 by local tribes angry that the colonists were taking up good land and resources.

The third group arrived in 1587. Entire families came with children—17 women and 11 children accompanied a party of 90 men. That meant the group wanted to settle in the New World and was not a military excursion, which would have included only male explorers.

A clue uncovered in a long-forgotten, centuries-old map of the area called "La Virginea Pars" —drawn by the colony's governor John White —kicked off a reexamination of the fate of the lost colonists. An artist and employee of explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, White was later appointed governor of the new lands he was also the grandfather of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World.

A clue uncovered in a long-forgotten map kicked off a reexamination of the fate of the lost colonists.

Two patches on the map made Brent Lane of the First Colony Foundation (the group behind the latest archaeological trip and whose work is supported by National Geographic and the Waitt Grants Programs) in Durham, North Carolina, wonder if they might hide something beneath.

Scientists at the British Museum looked into the patches and discovered a tiny red-and-blue symbol. Could it have indicated a fort or a secret emergency location?

"Our best idea is that parts of Raleigh's exploration in North America were a state secret, and the map 'cover-up' was an effort to keep information from the public and from foreign agents," said Eric Klingelhofer of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, a historian and the principal investigator on the project.

Most researchers think the colonists likely encountered disease—caused by New World microbes their bodies had never encountered before—or violence.

The research team thinks that when the crisis—whatever that may have been—hit, the colonists split up into smaller groups and dispersed.

No single Indian tribe or village could have supported them. They would be even larger than some villages.

"It's a good strategy," he said, explaining that the previous group from 1585 had been ordered to do so if disaster struck. "We don't definitely know that they do, but it's obvious that that's the only way they could have survived. No single Indian tribe or village could have supported them. They would be even larger than some villages—I mean, they were over a hundred people."

The prevailing theory has been that the colonists abandoned Roanoke and traveled 50 miles south to Hatteras Island , which was then known as Croatoan Island. But, Klingelhofer said, what if they went in another direction?

What if some of the colonists traveled west via Albemarle Sound to the mouth of the Chowan River , to a protected inlet occupied by a sympathetic tribe? (See "What 'Sleepy Hollow' Didn't Tell Us About Roanoke's Lost Colony." )

Furthermore, archaeologists have identified the nearby site of a small Native American town named Mettaquem, which may have adopted some of the colonists. Klingelhofer said that while researchers don't know much about the Native American town and its inhabitants, its existence has been verified.

"It's a very strategic place, right at the end of Albemarle Sound," he said. "You can go north up the Chowan River to Virginia or west to the Blue Ridge Mountains. They were big trading partners" with other Native American tribes.

After the map's secret was revealed, Klingelhofer, along with the First Colony Foundation, which studies the first attempts at colonization in the New World, proposed a return trip to the area, with a twist. This time, shovels would have 21st-century helpers—magnetometers and ground-penetrating radar (GPR).

Using Modern Technology

Malcolm LeCompte , a research associate at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, was responsible for the addition of GPR in the archaeological search for what happened to the lost colonists of Roanoke.

The process began earlier this year with a satellite survey of the site.

"What we do is we get the oldest maps we can find—so we can get a historic sense of what was there and what's there now—and orient them," LeCompte said. The point is to compare "what may have been there in the past to what is there now."

Researchers look for similarities between the old maps and the current geography of the area. Once they identify where the spots on the map correspond with today's landscape, a painstaking process of laying out a grid and systematically searching it with their GPR ensues.

The technology emits radio waves into the ground and measures the echo as the signal bounces off of various things buried underground. Essentially, it measures the depth that signals travel before hitting something that causes a measurable bounce back. In other words, signals potentially indicate a hidden object underground.

Metal objects—like the iron cannons that have been found at the site—act like "giant antennas." Graves and coffins are also detectable, because they contain voids with different densities and poorer conductive properties than the surrounding soil.

LeCompte and his colleagues found a previously undetected pattern that may indicate the presence of one or more structures, possibly made of wood, under about three feet (a meter) of soil.

"I don't know if it's one or a group [of structures]," he said, adding that they "could be joined or they could be close together." Perhaps the wood of the structures collapsed over time, leaving impressions in the surrounding soil, LeCompte speculated.

The Museum of the Albemarle's Swindell suggested the use of a proton magnetometer to enable the researchers to double-check their GPR findings. Much more sensitive than a metal detector, the device can spot objects buried about 13 feet (four meters) underground.

The device measures distortions of the Earth's magnetic field due to the presence of various objects buried underground.

"We're looking for anything that affects the local magnetic field," Swindell stressed. "That could be things like burn pits."

Swindell, for his part, thinks there may also be remains of a palisades that would have been used by farmers to keep wild animals away from crops.

The presence of the buried structure and the fence strongly indicate that there was some sort of colonial presence in the area. What complicates the story further is the presence of later colonial sites in the area through the 1700s.

Unfortunately, neither piece of technology has shed light on the role of Native American populations in the area. That's a puzzle that remains to be solved.

In the days of the Roanoke Colony, relations with the local Native Americans were mixed.

Roanoke was geographically located in the crux of sociopolitical friction between the Secotan —who held sway over Roanoke—and the Chowanoke , who controlled the nearby waterways.

Tensions were especially high between the colonists and the Secotan tribe.

"There is no doubt that there was a lot of hostility," Klingelhofer said. "Not all the tribes were hostile, but some of them were hostile. They felt imposed upon. There was fighting between [the groups]"—both among the tribes, and between some of the native peoples and the English settlers.

The area does seem to hold clues to contact between local tribes and European colonists in the 16th and 17th centuries.

It didn't help that the English attempted to explore the area multiple times. The group that arrived prior to the lost colonists were driven back to England, which meant when the ill-fated third group of colonists showed up, some sour feelings remained.

"It would not surprise me that the Secotan would want to be done and get rid of the English," Swindell said.

Whether groups of Secotan banded together to rid themselves of what they saw as interlopers is anyone's guess, he said.

The area does seem to hold clues to contact between local tribes and European colonists in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The next step in solving this age-old American mystery? "We have to go in and dig some holes, I guess," Swindell said.


Archaeologists start a new hunt for the fabled Lost Colony of the New World

ROANOKE ISLAND IN NORTH CAROLINA—In 1587, more than 100 men, women, and children settled on Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina. War with Spain prevented speedy resupply of the colony—the first English settlement in the New World, backed by Elizabethan courtier Sir Walter Raleigh. When a rescue mission arrived 3 years later, the town was abandoned and the colonists had vanished.

What is commonly called the Lost Colony has captured the imagination of generations of professional and amateur sleuths, but the colonists' fate is not the only mystery. Despite more than a century of digging, no trace has been found of the colonists' town—only the remains of a small workshop and an earthen fort that may have been built later, according to a study to be published this year. Now, after a long hiatus, archaeologists plan to resume digging this fall. "I firmly believe that our program of re-excavation will provide answers to the vexing questions that past fieldwork has left us," says archaeologist Eric Klingelhofer, vice president for research at the nonprofit First Colony Foundation in Durham, North Carolina.

The first colonists arrived in 1585, when a voyage from England landed more than 100 men here, among them a science team including Joachim Gans, a metallurgist from Prague and the first known practicing Jew in the Americas. According to eyewitness accounts, the colonists built a substantial town on the island's north end. Gans built a small lab where he worked with scientist Thomas Harriot. After the English assassinated a local Native American leader, however, they faced hostility. After less than a year, they abandoned Roanoke and returned to England.

A second wave of colonists, including women and children, arrived in 1587 and rebuilt the decaying settlement. Their governor, artist John White, returned to England for supplies and more settlers, but war with Spain delayed him in England for 3 years. When he returned here in 1590, he found the town deserted.

By the time President James Monroe paid a visit in 1819, all that remained was the outline of an earthen fort, presumed to have been built by the 1585 all-male colony. Digs near the earthwork in the 1890s and 1940s yielded little. The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) subsequently reconstructed the earthen mound, forming the centerpiece of today's Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

Then in the 1990s, archaeologists led by Ivor Noël Hume of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia uncovered remains of what archaeologists agree was the workshop where Gans tested rocks for precious metals and Harriot studied plants with medicinal properties, such as tobacco. Crucibles and pharmaceutical jars littered the floor, along with bits of brick from a special furnace. The layout closely resembled those in 16th century woodcuts of German alchemical workshops.

The 16th century colonists mapped North Carolina’s coastline but didn’t mark exactly where their town was located, leaving a 400-year-old mystery behind.

In later digs Noël Hume determined that the ditch alongside the earthwork cuts across the workshop—suggesting the fort was built after the lab and possibly wasn't even Elizabethan. NPS refused to publish these controversial results, and Noël Hume died in 2017. But the foundation intends to publish his paper in coming months.

The foundation is also gearing up for a series of new digs. In September, archaeologists will re-excavate parts of the workshop, seeking clues to its size and precise design. In October, foundation and NPS archaeologists will excavate along nearby bluffs that are rapidly eroding. They are applying new dating methods to sand around a post hole near the shoreline. And after a century of work, they know which areas to rule out, such as by the fort, Klingelhofer says. He's confident the extensive new excavations will be more successful, and is eyeing more sites for 2019 digs.

But geologists think the settlement has vanished. Recent studies suggest that shifting currents and rising waters inundated the site in the past couple of centuries, says geologist J. P. Walsh of the University of North Carolina in nearby Wanchese. On a recent research trip into Albemarle Sound off Roanoke to collect cores, he pointed to a depth finder that revealed perilously shallow water. "This was all land back then," he shouted over the engine. He estimates the island's north end has lost about 750 meters in the past 4 centuries, and that strong currents and hurricanes buried any artifacts.

Klingelhofer rejects that idea, saying the loss of land "is more likely to have come since the last ice age" rather than after 1585. Guy Prentice, an archaeologist from NPS's Southeast Archeological Center in Tallahassee, agrees. "If you look at the maps from the 1700s, the island's geography has not changed much. … I just don't buy that a couple of thousand yards are gone." They both note that the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, founded a couple of decades after Roanoke, was long thought to have eroded away. But archaeologists discovered it in the 1990s and have gathered a wealth of artifacts.

All the scientists, however, concur that today's rising seas are swiftly wearing away Roanoke's northern end. Klingelhofer feels urgency to locate the town "before coastal erosion removes all traces." But if history has anything to teach, it is that Roanoke will not readily reveal its secrets.

Andrew Lawler

Contributing Correspondent Andrew Lawler is based in Asheville, North Carolina. His most recent book is T he Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.


Roanoke’s Lost Colony Found?

After traveling to England in 1587 for supplies, John White returned to the Roanoke colony three years later. They found no trace of the settlers save for the word "Croatoan" carved into a post.

One hot august day in 1590, the heavily armed privateer Hopewell dropped anchor off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. John White had returned to resupply the 118 men, women, and children whom he had left on Roanoke Island three long years earlier.

Sweating and cursing the humidity, White and his men left their ship and rowed toward the island. Crewmen sounded familiar tunes on trumpets to alert the colonists, but not a single human figure was seen. Only the endless beating of waves along the shore and wind gusting through the tall pines met their calls.

The landing party made its way through the woods to the settlement at the island’s northern end. Bracing himself for the worst, White entered the clearing where he had parted from the colonists, including his daughter, Eleanor Dare, and baby granddaughter, Virginia.

He found the settlement deserted, weeds and vines sprouting where houses had once stood. The houses themselves had been carefully dismantled and removed. Gone, too, were the fort’s small cannon buried chests were found, containing some of the colonists’ possessions (including White’s). All the evidence suggested a planned and orderly withdrawal.

Cut into the bark of a tree, White discovered the letters CRO. On a post at the entrance to the stockade, someone had carved “in fayre” capitals the word “CROATOAN,” which gave him reason to believe that the colonists had left for the island of that name 50 miles to the south, inhabited by friendly Indians. White pleaded with the Hopewell ’s captain, Abraham Cocke, to sail for Croatoan the next day.

For an update on the latest, see "Archaeologists at Roanoke Unearth New Clues" in this issue

Overnight, a great storm blew up and snapped their anchor cables, nearly driving the Hopewell onto the reefs lining the Outer Banks. With his anchors gone, provisions dwindling, and a tempest that showed no signs of abating, Cocke decided to head out to winter in the West Indies, then return in the spring. But continuing gales forced the ship far into the ocean, persuading him to set a course for the Azores and then back to England. The bitterly disappointed White knew that it was highly probable that he would never see his family, friends, and fellow venturers again.

The story of the Lost Colony has fascinated people across four centuries and remains one of the enduring mysteries of early America, memorialized in pageants and works of history and fiction. Did the colonists move to Croatoan Island and live with the Indians, as White believed, or did they settle elsewhere? Where did they go, and what happened to them? A new interpretation of the evidence suggests that the prevailing explanation may be wrong.

More than 30 years ago, the eminent British historian David Beers Quinn advanced the most widely accepted modern theory, arguing that the majority of colonists moved north to the Chesapeake Bay, leaving a small party on Roanoke to await White’s return. In the spring of 1588, this small contingent packed up, carved their messages, and moved to Croatoan Island. Meanwhile, the main group went to live with the Chesapeake Indians, either at Chesepiooc or the principal town of Skicoak, intermarrying and raising families in ignorance of the fate of the Roanoke Island party and of White’s eventual return.

Quinn assumes that Croatoan lacked the resources to support the whole colony. The majority, he argued, favored a move to the southern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, where they had originally planned to settle and where they believed the Chesapeake would welcome them into their community.

He drew primarily on at least second-hand reports from the Jamestown colonists who settled Virginia two decades later. William Strachey, who arrived in 1610, soon wrote an account of the already Lost Colony in which he stated that the “men women, and Children of the first plantation at Roanoak” lived with the Indians for 20 years but were then exterminated by the Powhatan, a powerful people who were expanding their rule over Tidewater Virginia. Strachey noted that Indian priests had warned their paramount chief, Powhatan, against a nation that would arise from the Chesapeake Bay and destroy his empire. This “divelish Oracle,” wrote Strachey, persuaded Powhatan to destroy the objects of the prophecy, namely the Chesapeake and the descendents of the Lost Colony who lived near the entrance to the bay. Strachey believed that the slaughter occurred about the time that three English ships entered the Chesapeake Bay to found Jamestown.

Yet there are serious flaws in Quinn’s argument. If the main group of Roanoke colonists knew all along that their ultimate destination lay northward on the Chesapeake Bay, then why didn’t they specify a rendezvous with White before he sailed home, instead of arranging for him to return to Roanoke Island? Furthermore, they must have known that the way north was difficult, Currituck Sound being described by a contemporary as “very shallow and most dangerous.” Sailing along the coast would have been equally hazardous, given the uncertain weather and prevailing offshore currents. Without large boats, it would have taken several journeys to transport the entire group.

Most important, nothing in Strachey’s writings or those of any other Jamestown settler connects the lost colonists to the Chesapeake. In fact, Strachey explicitly states that the colonists were killed “far from him [Powhatan], and in the Territory of those Weroances [chiefs] which did in no sort depend on him, or acknowledge him.” Whomever the lost colonists went to live with after they left Roanoke Island, it was not the Chesapeake.

By the early 1580s, Spain’s overseas holdings stretched from the Americas to the East Indies—the first empire in history on which the sun truly never set. The growing threat of Spain to England’s security and commercial interests sparked a suddenly intense English interest in North America. The “planting of two or three strong forts upon some good havens,” wrote Richard Hakluyt the younger, one of the period’s foremost promoters of colonization, would provide privateer bases against Spanish treasure fleets, weaken Spanish power, and enrich England. Forward-looking English writers agreed that, besides undermining Spain’s influence in the Americas, English colonies would promote commerce, prosperity, and well-being at home.

In 1583 Queen Elizabeth I’s new favorite, Walter Ralegh, became England’s chief sponsor of colonizing ventures. From Durham House, his palatial London residence on the River Thames, he organized the expeditions that would colonize Roanoke. He carefully studied accounts of French and Spanish explorations of the east coast of North America, particularly the journals of early French Huguenot explorers who had heard from Indians along the Florida coast that fabulous mines lay to the north about 60 leagues (200 miles) “in the mountains of Appalesse [the Appalachians].” Ralegh may also have heard about the Spaniard Juan Pardo’s discoveries in the Carolinas, where his men allegedly had found a fertile land rich with gold, silver, and crystal mines.

In 1584 Ralegh sent two ships on a reconnaissance mission that discovered the Outer Banks and Roanoke Island. The following year he dispatched a full-scale expedition that resulted in the establishment of a 108-strong garrison settlement on Roanoke under the command of Ralph Lane, a seasoned veteran of the Irish wars.

Lane saw at once that the shallows between the Outer Banks and the mainland made Roanoke unsuitable as a privateering base. Nor did he believe that the general plans to raise a variety of natural commodities—timber, flax, hemp, dye stuffs, fruits, sugarcane, and wines—could make the colony profitable. But during the winter and spring of 1585–86 he received news that set everybody’s imagination on fire.

The Moratuc, an Indian people who lived along the lower reaches of the Roanoke River, told him of “strange things” at its headwaters, 30 to 40 days away, which, wrote Lane, “springeth out of a maine rocke . . . and further . . . this huge rocke standeth nere unto a Sea.” Could the rumors refer to a passage by water that flowed through the western mountains to the Pacific?

Just as tantalizing, the powerful Chowanoc who lived nearby along the Chowan River told him of “a marveilous and most strange Minerall” that they called “Wassador,” which he described as “very soft, and pale”—possibly copper or gold. Mines lay in a distant province of “Chaunis Temoatan,” more than 20 days inland. Lane learned that another people, the Mangoak, “beautifie their houses with great plates” of it.

In the spring of 1586, Lane led an expedition up the Roanoke River but failed to make contact with the Mangoak. Running low on supplies, he returned to Roanoke Island. Not long after, hostilities broke out with the Secotan, on whom the English had depended for food. With little hope of maintaining his settlement beyond the summer, Lane reluctantly agreed to return to England with a fleet commanded by Sir Francis Drake, which had arrived off the coast in early June 1586.

In London Lane reported enthusiastically to Ralegh that the Roanoke River promised “great things.” He recommended that England establish a new colony 100 miles north of Roanoke Island on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, whose many rivers would prove excellent harbors for deep-draft seafaring ships. Moreover, Menatonon, the chief of the Chowanoc, had told him that an Indian king to the north had so many pearls that “it was a wonder to see.” From a settlement on the Chesapeake Bay, Lane argued, the English could trade for pearls, search for Chaunis Temoatan, and explore a passage to the Pacific. Ralegh agreed. The next colony, he decided, would be located on the Chesapeake Bay and be led by John White.

Civilians rather than soldiers made up White’s colony, which would be largely self-sufficient. Ninety-one men, 18 women, and nine children joined White’s party (somewhat short of the 150 he had in mind), together with two Indians, Manteo and Towaye. They were a young group the majority of men were in their 20s and early to mid-30s, most of the women in their late teens and 20s. All the children were boys, aged between three and 12 years.

White set off from Plymouth in May 1587, arriving at the Outer Banks two months later. He had planned to pick up 15 men left on Roanoke Island the year before and then sail for the Chesapeake Bay, but matters went disastrously wrong. He discovered only one bleached skeleton near the fort that Lane had built. Then the master pilot, Simon Fernandes, head of the squadron’s mariners, refused to carry the settlers any farther his crew was set on departing as quickly as possible, to prey on Spanish shipping in the Caribbean.

Once put ashore, the colonists found themselves in a precarious position. Not only were their provisions dwindling, but the neighboring Secotan had turned hostile. Moreover, in their present exposed position they could expect little quarter if the Spanish, who had got word of their arrival, found them. They therefore agreed that White should return to England with Fernandes and raise fresh supplies while they moved inland to find friendly Indians who would sustain them until help arrived. A small contingent would await White at the settlement and then guide him to the main group inland.

The colonists needed safe haven. Mas onde? The only surviving clue—aside from the letters carved into the trees—lies in White’s enigmatic phrase that the settlers intended to move “50. miles further up into the maine.” The “maine,” or mainland, signified the interior. “Their [the colonists’] meaning,” a contemporary clarified, was “to remove 50 miles into the countrey.”

Moving westward made good sense. Freshwater, a “great store of fishe,” and the friendly Chowanoc lay inland. Sailing along the broad, swift waters of Albemarle Sound, the colonists would have encountered few sandbanks or shoals. After about 50 miles, they would have reached the confluence of the Chowan and Roanoke rivers, possibly the place later described by the English as “Ohonahorn,” near the promontory where the Chowanoc settlements of Tandaquomuc or Metackwem were located.

For the next couple of years, they remained at the head of Albemarle Sound, searching for news of the mines of Chaunis Temoatan and waiting for White to return. But as the disappointing months passed, they began drifting away from the settlement to join the Indians, either marrying into the Chowanoc or moving farther inland to join the powerful Tuscarora near the rapids of the Roanoke River.

It was along the Chowan and Roanoke rivers that a catastrophe overwhelmed this already part-Indian culture nearly two decades later. In the spring of 1607, 400 elite Powhatan warriors journeyed along well-known trading paths to Chowanoc and Tuscarora country and slaughtered the Europeans, their children, and Indian sponsors. The settlement at Jamestown had seriously threatened Chief Powhatan’s influence over the peoples of his expanding sovereignty. He could not risk the newcomers joining forces with the Roanoke colonists and their Indian allies on his southern border.

Some of the colonists survived, however. News of the slaughter reached Jamestown in the bitterly cold winter of 1607–8. Captain John Smith, one of the settlers’ leaders, had been captured by Powhatan’s kinsman Opechancanough just before Christmas and learned from the chief that “certaine men cloathed at a place called Ocanahonan.” Later, Powhatan himself confirmed what Opechancanough had said, telling Smith of other clothed men to be found “within a day and a halfe of Mangoge, two dayes of Chawwonock, [and] 6. from Roanoke.” Smith wrote that the great chief further mentioned “a countrie called Anone, where they have abundance of Brasse, and houses walled as ours.”

Smith summarized what he had learned in a sketch map sent back to London in the summer of 1608, which included reports from an expedition that set off from the south bank of the James River in January 1608 to look for a “place called Panawicke, beyond Roanoke,” where local Indians reported many “apparelled” men lived. The group traveled a good way to the south, possibly as far as the Neuse River, and had some success in establishing where a few of the colonists might be found. Smith wondered whether future expeditions might fare better in locating survivors.

More information came to light when a Powhatan named Machumps traveled to England in 1608 under Chief Powhatan’s orders to learn more about the English. Machumps told William Strachey that at “Peccarecanick and Ochanahoen . . . the People have howses built with stone walls, and one story above another, so taught them by the English who escaped the slaughter at Roanoak.” The news caused a sensation in London. Leaders of the Virginia Company, which had sponsored Jamestown, immediately began organizing further expeditions to locate the Roanokers. It could be extremely beneficial to find survivors of the Lost Colony, some of whom, after all, might have lived in America for more than two decades such intimate knowledge of the region could help uncover the wondrous treasures dreamed of by Ralegh and Lane, riches that could incalculably benefit the company, its backers, and the nation.

Nathaniel Powell and Anas Todkill, dispatched early in 1609 to probe inland from the Chowan River, “found crosses and letters, the characters and assured testimonies of Christians, newly cut in the barks of trees” within 50 miles of Jamestown, but no sign of the colonists themselves. Thereafter the trail went cold. A long and bitter war with the Powhatan and the discovery of a strain of tobacco that promised handsome returns in London dimmed any long-term interest in the lost colonists. Planters found a more certain route to wealth in profits from the smoky weed than continuing to search in the interior for elusive gold mines. Roanoke Island and the high drama of England’s first American colony were soon forgotten.

The colonists recruited by John White never reached the Chesapeake Bay they never established a great city in Ralegh’s name or discovered gold mines in the distant province of Chaunis Temoatan. Riches did not lie in the mountains to the west, and there was no convenient route that would take the English to the Pacific and beyond to the riches of Cathay.

In the years that followed White’s return to England, the colonists must have waited patiently for him to come back, unaware of his tireless efforts to reach them or of his last voyage to Roanoke in 1590. When he failed to return with supplies and reinforcements the lost colonists turned to local peoples for help and lived peacefully with them for nearly 20 years.

How many survived the brutal Powhatan attack is unknown. Seven (four men and three Anglo-Indian children) were said to have been protected by a powerful chief, Eyanoco, an “enemy to Powhaton,” who lived deep in the mountains at a place called Ritanoe. But others also escaped and settled down with Tuscarora peoples at Panawicke, Ocanahonan, and Pakerakanick, in the North Carolina interior. They or their descendents gradually melted into the fabric of Indian society, making homes and raising families, preserving their memories in folktales about the English and their first arrival.

Sections from this story were adapted from A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke by James Horn with the permission of Basic Books.


The Mystery of Roanoke Endures Yet Another Cruel Twist

It seemed too good to be true. And it was.

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Nearly 20 years ago, excavators digging on North Carolina’s remote Hatteras Island uncovered a worn ring emblazoned with a prancing lion. A local jeweler declared it gold—but it came to be seen as more than mere buried treasure when a British heraldry expert linked it to the Kendall family involved in the 1580s Roanoke voyages organized by Sir Walter Raleigh during Elizabeth I’s reign.

The 1998 discovery electrified archaeologists and historians. The artifact seemed a rare remnant of the first English attempt to settle the New World that might also shed light on what happened to 115 men, women, and children who settled the coast, only to vanish in what became known as the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Now it turns out that researchers had it wrong from the start.

A team led by archaeologist Charles Ewen recently subjected the ring to a lab test at East Carolina University. The X-ray fluorescence device, shaped like a cross between a ray gun and a hair dryer, reveals an object’s precise elemental composition without destroying any part of it. Ewen was stunned when he saw the results.

“It’s all brass,” he said. “There’s no gold at all.”

The ring, previously thought to be gold, turns out to be brass. (Charles Ewen/ECU)

North Carolina state conservator Erik Farrell, who conducted the analysis at an ECU facility, found high levels of copper in the ring, along with some zinc and traces of silver, lead, tin and nickel. The ratios, Farrell said, “are typical of brass” from early modern times. He found no evidence that the ring had gilding on its surface, throwing years of speculation and research into serious doubt.

“Everyone wants it to be something that a Lost Colonist dropped in the sand,” added Ewen. He said it is more likely that the ring was a common mass-produced item traded to Native Americans long after the failed settlement attempt.

Not all archaeologists agree, however, and the surprise results are sure to reignite the debate over the fate of the Lost Colony.

The settlers arrived from England in the summer of 1587, led by John White. They rebuilt an outpost on Roanoke Island, 50 miles north of Hatteras, abandoned by a previous band of colonists. White’s group included his daughter Eleanor, who soon gave birth to Virginia Dare, the first child born of English parents in the New World.

White quickly departed for England to gather supplies and additional colonists, but his return was delayed by the outbreak of war with Spain. When he finally managed to land on Roanoke Island three years later, the settlement was deserted. The only clue was the word “Croatoan” carved on a post, the name of a tribe allied with the English and the island now called Hatteras.

ECU archaeologist David Phelps, now deceased, found the ring while excavating a Native American village there and took it to a jeweler named Frank Riddick in nearby Nags Head. Phelps reported that the jeweler tested the ring and determined it was 18-carat gold.

Riddick, who now runs a fishing charter company called Fishy Bizness, recalled recently that he didn’t conduct an acid-scratch test typically used to verify the presence and quality of the precious metal. “Since this wasn’t about buying or selling, we didn’t do that,” he said. “I just told him that I thought it was gold.” Phelps apparently didn’t want to subject the object to potential damage.

A senior member of London’s College of Arms subsequently noted that the seal on the signet ring was of a lion passant, and suggested that it might relate to the Kendall family of Devon and Cornwall. A Master Kendall was part of the first colonization attempt in 1585, while another Kendall visited Croatoan when a fleet led by Sir Francis Drake stopped by in 1586. Though this link was never confirmed, the object was nicknamed the Kendall ring.

Since Phelps thought the ring was made of a precious material and likely belonged to the Elizabethan era, he argued it was an important clue. “That doesn’t mean the Lost Colony was here,” he told a reporter at the dig site after the ring’s discovery. “But this begins to authenticate that.”

Some archaeologists, however, were skeptical of the artifact’s connection to Roanoke, given that it was found with other artifacts dating to between 1670 and 1720—about a century after the Elizabethan voyages. This was also an era in which brass rings showed up at Native American sites up and down the East Coast.

But Mark Horton, an archaeologist at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, says that Ewen’s results don’t necessarily preclude that it belonged to a Roanoke colonist. “The fact that the ring is brass actually makes it more similar to other British examples,” he said, noting that the ring could have been made in the 1580s. “I would argue that it was kept as an heirloom, passed down, and then discarded.”

Horton is currently digging at the Hatteras site where the ring was discovered. The excavations, sponsored by the Croatoan Archaeological Society, have so far uncovered several artifacts that may have been made during Elizabethan times, including the handle of a rapier and bits of metal from clothing.

If the Lost Colonists left Roanoke for Croatoan in the late 1580s, argues Horton, they might have brought along their most precious objects. Over a couple of generations they may have assimilated with the Algonquian-speaking Croatoan people and their English heirlooms would have eventually worn out. “Oh, there’s granddad’s old sword in the corner rusting away,” said Horton. “Why are we keeping that?”

His theory is also based on archaeological finds that show that Native Americans on Hatteras manufactured lead shot and used guns to hunt deer and birds by the 1650s. Prior to this, their diet was based heavily on fish and shellfish. The technological sophistication, Horton suggests, hints at the presence of Europeans before the second wave of English arrived in the area in the late 1600s. That, too, could point to the presence of assimilated colonists and their descendants.

That theory is a stretch, says archaeologist Charles Heath, who worked with Phelps and was present when the ring was found. “Such items would have been used, modified, traded, re-traded, lost, discarded or curated by their native owners—and subsequent native owners—for many years,” he argued. In the end, he said, “a stray 16th-century artifact found here and there on the Outer Banks will not make for a Lost Colony found.”

Horton acknowledges that rather than Roanoke colony possessions brought along by assimilating English, the Croatoan people could have acquired the goods from Jamestown, the later Virginia colony to the north, instead. Gunflints, coins, and glass beads found at the site almost certainly came from the newer English settlement. But he is confident that the current excavations will soon reveal additional evidence.

Meanwhile, the hunt for the Lost Colony continues. Another group of archaeologists working about 50 miles west of Roanoke Island at the head of Albemarle Sound say that they have pottery and metal artifacts likely associated with the Lost Colony. The digs by the First Colony Foundation were sparked by the 2012 discovery of a patch concealing the image of a fort on a map painted by John White.

But like the finds at Hatteras, the objects might be associated with the second wave of English settlement.

Last fall, a dig by the National Park Service at Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island—thought to be the site of the original settlement—yielded no trace of the colonists. But earlier in 2016, archaeologists did find a handful of fragments of an apothecary jar that almost certainly date from the 16th century.

That the gold Kendall ring is likely a cheap brass trade item won’t derail the quest to find out what took place on the Outer Banks more than four centuries ago. As for Ewen, he hopes that the analysis of the ring will help put researchers back on track in their search for scarce clues to the Roanoke settlers. “Science actually does work,” he said—“if you give it time.”


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