A Student of History

May 4, 2012

New clue to what happened to the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke?

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places — John Maass @ 12:41 pm

Here’s an article on Yahoo News about a new clue to the Roanoke Islanders of the so-called “Lost Colony,” in the 1580s. An old map has been re-examined to show a possible location to which the colonists removed.  Under a patch on the original map there appears to be the spot of a fort not previously known of, as seen here:

Fort under patch

Fort under patch

 Here is a picture of the map with the patch, from the website of the First Colony Foundation, which has an excellent detailed piece on its website:

John White Map

Some of the news story:

A new look at a 425-year-old map has yielded a tantalizing clue about the fate of the Lost Colony, the settlers who disappeared from North Carolina’s Roanoke Island in the late 16th century. Experts from the First Colony Foundation and the British Museum in London discussed their findings Thursday at a scholarly meeting on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their focus: the “Virginea Pars” map of Virginia and North Carolina created by explorer John White in the 1580s and owned by the British Museum since 1866.

“We believe that this evidence provides conclusive proof that they moved westward up the Albemarle Sound to the confluence of the Chowan and Roanoke rivers,” said James Horn, vice president of research and historical interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and author of a 2010 book about the Lost Colony.

There’s also a video clip on the Yahoo News site as well.  Here’s some of the official announcement (from the LCF site):

Portions of a unique late 16th-century map in the British Museum (which documents voyages to North America for Sir Walter Raleigh), have recently been examined to reveal hitherto unseen lines and symbols that have been hidden for centuries. Using a variety of non-contact scientific methods carefully chosen to be safe to use with early paper, researchers at the British Museum in London are peering at and through two small ‘patches’ of paper applied to an Elizabethan map of parts of modern eastern North Carolina and tidewater Virginia. The first patch (number 1 at the southern end of the map) appears to have been applied primarily to allow the artist to alter the coastline. The second patch (number 2 at the northern end of the map) offers even more exciting finds. It appears to cover a large ‘fort’ symbol in bright red and bright blue and, and has a very faint (just barely visible to the naked eye) but much smaller version of a similar shape on top. There is also a red circle under the patch that may represent an Indian town. The map is part of a large set of watercolours that gave England and Europe its first accurate views of the new world of North America. Drawn by John White, these watercolours from the British Museum collection were the centrepiece of the New World exhibition held at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh in 2007.



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