Recent ‘Lost Colony’ Clue Provides Peek Into Settler’s Lives

The unsolved mystery of the lost colony of Roanoke might be a little closer to being solved as a new clue was found this Sunday in the form of pottery pieces.

It’s said that what is famously known as the “Lost colony” of Roanoke Island in present day North Carolina, was the first colony of English settlers in America.

As the video explains, one of the settlers left for England to get supplies and when he returned a few years later, the colony was gone, but a new clue seems to shed some light that might reveal the settlers considered lost might have just been a subjective point of view from a now 400-plus-year-old Roanoke governor.

The Virginian-Pilot originally broke the story over the weekend, where they say that archaeologists found a clue in pieces of a medicine jar that might have belonged to a member of the lost colony and the Roanoke voyages.

Lost Colony clue found near the Theater Ticket House where plays are performed.
The discovery of the clue to the mysterious lost colony was found near this theater on Roanoke island, where performances telling the story of the settlers are presented. [Image by Omarcheeseboro via Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0]
The jar the pieces come from is assumed to be three-inches tall, and 1.5-inches wide, and were found in a mound not far from where the lost colony settled, buried two-feet near the Lost Colony Theater Ticket House, where performances portraying the story of the settlers are shown.

It is said that after the Union won the civil war, that the existence of the lost colony being the first true settlement, became even more so because historians in the North would write the colony out of the history books in order to establish the legacy of the sympathetic pilgrims of New England rather than those on North Carolina’s coast.

The article goes on to explain the voyages and details the responsibilities of some of its leading members, including what might clue in the researchers to what might have been in the medicine jar, in order to fight syphilis.

More importantly the pottery clue provides some insight in into the lost lives of those settlers.

The cultural resource manager for the National Park Services Outer Banks Group, Jamie Lanier, is involved with archaeologists it sponsors from the Southeast Archaeology Center who, “dug near a shoreline that has eroded about a foot a year in the past decade,” which makes the site a priority, according to the report.

The clue is only the latest in a series of over the years since projects to unlock the mystery of the lost colony were started.

English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh sent three expeditions to the coast of North Carolina in the 1580s, two men in one of those expedition are said to have been Thomas Harriot and John White, who would become the governor of the Roanoke colony in 1587.

Whatever happened to the lost colony? Latest clue reveals more.
Fort Raleigh is named after Sir Wright Raleigh who explored the North Carolinian coast, where the Roanoke colony was based. [Image by Ken Lund via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]
He arrived there in 1585 during the second expedition, and was an artist who made maps of the region.

The beginning of the account of the lost colony is often told within the context of Virginia Dare who was the first of the English settlers to be born in the new world in September of 1587, before her grandfather John White would leave for England — and as mentioned — never seeing her again, returning to find the settlers missing.

White would continue the search for clues as to what could have become of them, often suggested they were killed by the natives, as there were accounts of attacks during the colonization.

But John White had reason to believe that they had not left in a hurry because their houses were dismantled and there were carvings left behind of the word “Croatoan” on a fort, and “Cro” on a tree, causing him to believe the lost colony went to the Croatoan Island.

Recent clue to the Lost Colony of Roanoke could be that they just moved on to Croatoan colony?
The story of the lost colony is that John White told them, if the situation was dire and they had to flee, to carve a specific cross so he would know when he came back. But they left this instead, which matches with the full word “Croatoan” which could only mean they weren’t in trouble, but rather, traveled to another colony that White apparently never went to to conduct his search. [Image by Sarah Stierch via Flickr/CC BY 2.0 ]
The article also mentions that a clue from a mound where one of the explorers sent by Walter Raleigh, Ralph Lane, had built a fort in 1858, has led them to believe that the settlers must have separated.

This new clue, along with the series of others, seems to match the possibility that, rather than suffering a violent end, John White’s delay in bringing back supplies caused the settlers to lose hope with some or maybe all, returning to Croatoan Island — now known as Hatteras — where some of the Roanoke settlers had already been living for two-years since landing in 1584, before moving to the new colony.

In fact there were five voyages with the first one conducted by Arthur Barlowe and Philip Amadas, having nothing to do with Raleigh, the first one had settled on Croatoan Island, which John White never went to when he came back to find nothing but a lost colony, because of the raging storms that would make the journey too dangerous.

[image by Walter Gresham – The Lost Colony Pics for Media via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0]