The Lost Colony of Roanoke might have to be renamed into something a little less catchy – specifically, into “The Found Colony of Roanoke,” according to recent reports claiming that archaeologists have finally discovered evidence which they believe to be remnants of the fabled civilization.
For hundreds of years, researchers and scholars have toiled over untangling the mystery of Roanoke Island and its colonists, who disappeared seemingly into thin air. More than 100 English colonists moved onto the island, which is currently part of North Carolina, in 1587 during the height of colonization in the Americas.
But when settlers went back to England for more supplies and were delayed for about three years, they returned to the island in 1590 to find it completely empty – save for the word “Croatoan” carved into a fence post and “CRO” carved into a nearby tree.
According to reports from National Geographic and the New York Times, archaeologists believe they have discovered earthenware and other tools, close to Roanoke Island, proving that the 115 colonists did survive (rather than turn into ghosts, as some people still believe).
The evidence in question was found at a dig site 60 miles west of Roanoke Island, which is located in North Carolina’s Outer Banks region, the Valley News said. This site has been nicknamed “Site X” by archaeologists from the First Colony Foundation.
On the mainland area, located around the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina, and on Hatteras Island just south of Roanoke Island, archaeologists from the First Colony Foundation and from Britain’s Bristol University have discovered items suggesting that the colonists of Roanoke split into two groups; one which traveled to the northern mainland, and one to an island 50 miles south.
The objects are clearly European goods, National Geographic reported, and include broken pieces of English bowls, an English sword hilt, and even a fragment of a slate writing tablet with a single letter inscribed.
Archaeologists in both dig sites have admitted that the objects could have belonged to other groups of colonists, but if more evidence can be unearthed, the artifacts could play a major role in discovering just what happened to Roanoke.
Currently, most historians believe that the colonists integrated into Native American communities after leaving Roanoke.