Work continues to find Lost Colony

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Can we find Raleigh’s colony here? The dig is beginning on the Inner Banks.

National Archeology Day, October 20, is up close and personal this year for residents of eastern North Carolina. The exciting new discoveries about Sir Walter Raleigh’s plans for the region, and for his proposed capitol and fort, will be explained at a special event co-sponsored by the First Colony Foundation and the Historic Hope Foundation.

Last spring’s excitement over the discovery of the hidden portions of Raleigh’s 400 year-old map, which point to a site in Bertie County as the “Cittie of Raleigh”, will now be followed by intensive archaeological research at the proposed locale.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, which is National Archeology Day, researchers from North Carolina’s First Colony Foundation will explain the inquisitiveness which led them to ask experts at the British Museum to examine the map and its “hidden” patches. The public is invited to attend from 4-6 p.m. at the Roanoke-Chowan Heritage Center, 132 Hope House Road, Windsor, and join in the “…the diligent serch of the secretes…”

Researcher and First Colony board member Brent Lane will show and tell the story of what is still being discovered from an Elizabethan era map of the region. First Colony research vice president and archaeologist Nicholas Luccketti will outline the foundation’s research design to determine if there are physical remains of Elizabethan activities in Bertie County. This will be the public’s best chance to meet them and learn firsthand about this fascinating research. And it is open to everyone and entirely free.

In October 1587 Sir Walter Raleigh was praised for sponsoring the 1586 exploration of the Chowan and Roanoke Rivers. English chronicler Richard Hakluyt commended Raleigh for “the diligent serch of the secretes of those countries” made by Ralph Lane and the first Roanoke colony. Those early explorations generated wonderfully detailed maps attributed to John White and now in London’s British Museum of what is now eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, known as Raleigh’s “Virginea.”

When the English settled Jamestown in 1607 and went searching for Sir Walter Raleigh’s “lost colonists,” they were told by the Powhatans to look in what is now eastern Bertie County. No one from Jamestown was able to get there and the mystery of the “lost colony” remains unsolved.

In late 2011 Brent Lane began a careful study of the John White maps. He became intrigued with two apparent paper “patches” on the map, one over what is now Bertie County. Brent began working with the British Museum in early 2012 to explore what might be under the paper “patches.” Hidden for over 400 years were blue and red drawings that may represent a fort symbol and an Algonkian town on the Chowan River in Bertie County.

The First Colony Foundation is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in North Carolina and established for the purpose of sponsoring archaeological research, historical research, and public education relating to the early period of American colonial history, and specifically to the colonies attempted on Roanoke Island under a charter from Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh.

For more information about the Roanoke Colonies, Archaeology and History Week, or the First Colony Foundation’s work, contact: Phil Evans at or 919-767-1050.

Historic Hope Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit foundation organized originally to save the federal mansion of North Carolina governor and senator David Stone. Although its original mission was conservation, in addition to amassing one of the most impressive collections of furniture and artifacts in the state, it has expanded its objectives to support research and publication. In the last two decades educational outreach has resulted in major collaborations with East Carolina University and the school systems in the region. Students work and study at Hope on a regular basis.

For more information on Historic Hope contact Belinda Winborne or Dr. Turner Sutton at 252-794-3140 or at