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 Has Sir Ralph Lane's Lost Roanoke Colony been solved?

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Age : 53
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Registration date : 2010-11-06

PostSubject: Has Sir Ralph Lane's Lost Roanoke Colony been solved?   Mon May 07, 2012 12:51 am

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- 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.

"Their intention was to create a settlement. And this is what we believe we are looking at with this symbol their clear intention, marked on the map ..."

Attached to the map are two patches. One patch appears to merely correct a mistake on the map, but the other in what is modern-day Bertie County in northeastern North Carolina hides what appears to be a fort. Another symbol, appearing to be the very faint image of a different kind of fort, is drawn on top of the patch.

The American and British scholars believe the fort symbol could indicate where the settlers went. The British researchers joined the Thursday meeting via webcast.

In a joint announcement, the museums said, "First Colony Foundation researchers believe that it could mark, literally and symbolically, `the way to Jamestown.' As such, it is a unique discovery of the first importance."

White made the map and other drawings when he traveled to Roanoke Island in 1585 on an expedition commanded by Sir Ralph Lane. In 1587, a second colony of 116 English settlers landed on Roanoke Island, led by White. He left the island for England for more supplies but couldn't return again until 1590 because of the war between England and Spain.

When he came back, the colony was gone. White knew the majority had planned to move "50 miles into the maine," as he wrote, referring to the mainland. The only clue he found about the fate of the other two dozen was the word "CROATOAN" carved into a post, leading historians to believe they moved south to live with American Indians on what's now Hatteras Island.

But the discovery of the fort symbol offers the first new clue in centuries about what happened to the 95 or so settlers, experts said Thursday. And researchers at the British Museum discovered it because Brent Lane, a member of the board of the First Colony Foundation, asked a seemingly obvious question: What's under those two patches?

Researchers say the patches attached to White's excruciatingly accurate map were made with ink and paper contemporaneous with the rest of the map. One corrected mistakes on the shoreline of the Pamlico River and the placing of some villages. But the other covered the possible fort symbol, which is visible only when the map is viewed in a light box.

The map was critical to Sir Walter Raleigh's quest to attract investors in his second colony, Lane said. It was critical to his convincing Queen Elizabeth I to let him keep his charter to establish a colony in the New World. It was critical to the colonists who navigated small boats in rough waters.

So that made Lane wonder: "If this was such an accurate map and it was so critical to their mission, why in the world did it have patches on it? This important document was being shown to investors and royalty to document the success of this mission. And it had patches on it like a hand-me-down."

Researchers don't know why someone covered the symbol with a patch, although Horn said the two drawings could indicate the settlers planned to build more of a settlement than just a fort.

The land where archaeologists would need to dig eventually is privately owned, and some of it could be under a golf course and residential community. So excavating won't begin anytime soon. But it doesn't have to, said Nicholas Luccketti, a professional archaeologist in Virginia and North Carolina for more than 35 years.

Archaeologists must first re-examine ceramics, including some recovered from an area in Bertie County called Salmon Creek, he said.

"This clue is certainly the most significant in pointing where a search should continue," Lane said. "The search for the colonists didn't start this decade; it didn't start this century. It started as soon as they were found to be absent from Roanoke Island ... I would say every generation in the last 400 years has taken this search on."

But none have had today's sophisticated technology to help, he said.

"None of them had this clue on this map."


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Age : 52
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Registration date : 2012-03-22

PostSubject: Re: Has Sir Ralph Lane's Lost Roanoke Colony been solved?   Mon May 07, 2012 3:37 am

I sure hope they can do a dig on the private land to determine if they are correct. This one would be nice to put in the "solved" column. I always thought the colonist blended into the local tribes to survive. I never thought they were wiped out completely. The Native Americans were somewhat friendly to the settlers IIRC. I think they were homogenized into the tribes, and became part of the tribes themselves, and met with natural end to their lives.
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Age : 60
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PostSubject: Re: Has Sir Ralph Lane's Lost Roanoke Colony been solved?   Mon May 07, 2012 8:07 am

It would be interesting to know exactly what happened, but even if evidence of the move is found, it still wouldn't answer the question, since that settlement would still have been gone by 1590. The question would still remain -- exterminated, captured, or fully integrated
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PostSubject: Re: Has Sir Ralph Lane's Lost Roanoke Colony been solved?   Mon May 07, 2012 1:57 pm

If you read the articles from the London newspapers at the time the ship left, it was a bunch of nar-do-wells, scallywags, adventures, and assorted riffraff, looking to pick up gold nuggets off the ground and return home rich. Palioclimatic data shows they landed at the beginning of a major drought along the East Coast and not too far from some major Native villages. These new comers might have been blamed for the crop failures?

They weren't well equipped or prepared to carve out a new live in a rugged new land, and probably pissed off a local Chief, and he came to visit them...in the middle of the night.....with a hundred braves.....and they became fish bait!

Notice after this first unsuccessful attempt, the Company called upon Captain John Smith (an organized military may) sent a much better equipped and prepared expedition, and one of Smith's first edicts was (supposedly), "He who does not work, neither shall he eat" derived from II Thessalonians 3:10.

If evidence grows for this location, it might be an interesting case for the Supreme Court, the rights of the individual land holder against the rights of the "society" to know or locate anthropologically significant sites.

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PostSubject: Re: Has Sir Ralph Lane's Lost Roanoke Colony been solved?   Mon May 07, 2012 7:08 pm

Below is a brief bio of Sir Ralph Lane, who some credit with being the first to bring tobacco to England.


Written by John W. Shirley

William S. Powell, Ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 4. Chapel Hill NC: The University of North Carolina Press, pp. 14-15.

Lane, Sir Ralph (ca. 1530- October 1603), first governor of "Virginia," was born in Lympstone, Devonshire, England, the son of Sir Ralph Lane(d. 1541) and his wife Maud Parr (daughter of William Lord Parr) of Northamptonshire. He is believed to have been a cousin of Edward Dyer, the poet. In 1563 he entered the service of Queen Elizabeth I as equerry and did a variety of court tasks, including searching Breton ships for illegal goods in 1571. In general, however, Lane was better suited as a soldier than a courtier. After serving as sheriff of County Kerry, Ireland, from 1583 to 1585, he was invited by Sir Walter Raleigh to command an expedition to America. He sailed on 9 April 1585 under Sir Richard Grenville, with whom he soon began to quarrel. Towards the end of June, they arrived at Wococon on the North Carolina Outer Banks and established a colony with Lane as governor.

After Grenville departed for England in August, the colony moved to Roanoke Island where it remained for the next eight months. As supplies became scarce, the colony was plagued with bickering and quarrels among its members and with the natives. Lane reportedly was not diplomatic in dealing with the Indians and often reacted violently to provocation. He quarreled with Wingina, an Indian chief, who was attempting to organize neighboring tribes to attack Lane's group. Lane solved this problem by killing Wingina on 10 June 1586 before the surrounding tribes convened and then managed to disperse the rest of the group. The next day, 11 June, Sir Francis Drake arrived and promised to leave men, supplies, and a ship. However, a hurricane blew the ship out to sea and plans were changed. Lane, discouraged, decided to return to England. In the frenzied rush to be gone, three colonists, exploring up- country, were left behind, and in an effort to lighten the ship's load, valuable records were thrown overboard. Lane returned to England on 27 July 1586 and never again commanded a colonial expedition, probably to the benefit of everyone. Ironically, Grenville's relief squadron arrived shortly after Drake sailed for home, causing widespread criticism of Lane for leaving Virginia when he did. It has even been suggested that Lane's distrust of Grenville led to his abandoning the colony.

It is thought (without much proof) that Lane was the first to introduce tobacco to England. Following his return, Lane set down a "Discourage on the First Colony," which was sent to Sir Walter Raleigh and later printed in Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations (1589). Afterward, Lane wrote another treatise on his experiences as a colonial commander and sent it to Lord Burghley on 7 Jan. 1592. In it he emphasized the need for strict discipline to avoid illness among the soldiers.

Among the colonists of this Virginia expedition were John White, an artist, and Thomas Harriot a mathematician, who took meticulous notes and made remarkably accurate drawings of the wildlife, fauna, and natives of the New World. These efforts have been preserved in their book, A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia, published in 1588 and 1590. Lane wrote the foreword to this book.

After Lane's return to England, he performed a series of petty tasks for the court, including in 1588 the office of muster- master of the camp at West Tilbury in Essex and the next year at muster- master general of the army on the Spanish and Portuguese coast. In January 1592 he took the post of muster- master general and clerk of the check in Ireland. He remained in that country for the rest of his life.

Lane apparently never married but continued, as he had throughout his career, to beg favors from the well-placed for himself and his relatives. On 15 Oct. 1593 he was knighted by the lord deputy of Ireland, Sir William Fitzwilliam. In 1594 Lane was badly wounded in an Irish rebellion. He never regained his strength and his office was generally neglected during the last years of his life. Edward E. Hale summed up his career: "He seems to have been an eager courtier, a bold soldier, a good disciplinarian, an incompetent governor, a credulous adventurer, and on the whole, though not a worthless, an unsuccessful man."

SEE: DAB, vol. 5 (1932); DNB, vol. 11 (1967); Edward E. Hale, "Life of Sir Ralph Lane," Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 4 (1860); David B. Quinn, ed., The Roanoke Voyages, 1584 -1590, 2 vols. (1955).

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