For centuries, the Tidewater coast of North Carolina has held one of early America’s oldest secrets: the fate of more than 100 English colonists who vanished from their island outpost in the late 1500s.
Theories abound about what happened to the so-called Lost Colony, ranging from sober scholarship to science fiction. Some historians believe that the colonists might have been absorbed into American Indian tribes. Other explanations point to darker fates, like disease, an attack by Spaniards or violence at the hands of Indians. The wild-eyed fringe hints at cannibalism and even alien abduction.
But this could change, thanks to the findings of a team from the British Museum who studied patches on a 16th century map that reveal hidden markings that show an inland fort where colonists could have resettled after abandoning the coast.
Here is another taste of the article in The Times:
James Horn, vice president of research and historical interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, cautioned that the Lost Colony had not been found. But the findings do provide the clearest marker yet for future archaeological excavations, which, if successful, could pinpoint where the settlers went.
“It’s a pretty amazing piece of evidence from a source that has been staring us in the face all along,” said Mr. Horn, who joined historians with an organization called the First Colony Foundation to announce the findings.