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Excavating the Lost Colony Mystery

The Map, the Search, the Discovery

Eric Klingelhofer

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: The University of North Carolina Press
Published: 11/2023
Pages: 144
Subject: History, Social Science
Print ISBN: 9781469673752
eBook ISBN: 9781469674285


The fate of Sir Walter Raleigh's 1587 "Lost Colony" on Roanoke Island has been one of the most enduring mysteries in the history of European settlement in North America. For generations, writers, scholars, and others have speculated about the disappearance of more than one hundred colonists, whose only obvious clue left behind was the word "CROATOAN" carved on the palisade of the settlement. But in the early 1990s, archaeologists at Roanoke opened fresh lines of inquiry, and in 2012 the search for evidence gained new momentum when a reexamination of an Elizabethan map revealed a hidden symbol. The symbol seemed to indicate the location of a Renaissance-style fort some distance from Roanoke Island, starting the quest for "Site X." After leading a team to explore multiple lines of research, Eric Klingelhofer here draws together the fullest possible account of what can be known today about the colony. The book features authoritative research by historians, archaeologists, and other experts, and it is richly illustrated with maps and photographs, including never-before-seen artifacts recovered in recent excavations. While some of the Lost Colony's mysteries may never be solved, readers will enjoy this informative and accessible account of efforts to reconstruct events more than four centuries ago.

Contributors include: Peter Barber, Phillip Evans, James Horn, Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Nicholas Luccketti, Kim Sloan, Beverly Straube, and Edward Clay Swindell.

Published in association with the First Colony Foundation.