Like something out of the movie, National Treasure, perhaps the best clue in more than 420 years to North Carolina’s most famous mystery has been revealed.
The remains of the Lost Colony, the settlers who disappeared from North Carolina’s Roanoke Island in the late 16th century, could sit under an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course in Bertie County, in northeastern North Carolina.
Researchers at the British Museum in London, acting at the request of a group of North Carolina historians and archaeologists, have found a symbol hidden on an ancient map that could show where members of the English colony established on Roanoke Island in 1587 settled.
Representatives of the First Colony Foundation and scholars at the British Museum announced the discovery on the University of North Carolina campus.
The elaborate “Virginea Pars” map was created by members of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Roanoke Colony expeditions of 1584-1590, the first attempt to establish an English Colony in the New World.
The map, unusually accurate for its time, shows the coastal area from the Chesapeake Bay to Cape Lookout and pinpoints the locations of several Native American villages.
Brent Lane, an adjunct professor of Heritage Education at the University of North Carolina Kenan Institute and a scholar with the First Colony Foundation, was studying a map made by the leader of the 1587 colony expedition, John White, when he became intrigued with two patches of paper pasted over small parts of it.
One was in an area the settlers had explored, and where some historians had theorized was a likely spot for them to have moved.
The patching technique was normal for the time. When artists wanted to make alterations, they would paste on a patch and draw or paint over it. Still, Lane asked British Museum officials whether they had ever tried to determine what was under the patches.
When they put the map on a simple light table, which shined through the paper, they saw something startling. Less than one patch was a large symbol that appeared to show the location of a fort.
The site appears to be at or near what is now the Scotch Hall Preserve, a golf course and residential community just across Albemarle Sound from Edenton.
Raleigh planned a capital, the “Cittie of Raleigh,” and Lane said the symbol may show the planned location of that and the most likely place for the colonists to have moved.
White left Roanoke Island and headed to 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 of about 95 settlers was gone.
Lost Colony Foundation members said Thursday that they were planning new research to explore the new clue about the Bertie site. Early efforts to match pottery recovered from the area to the correct period have produced positive results, researchers said.
Story sent in by Julia Cramery of Windsor, NC. She was unsure of the original author. However here is another good source of information post by WRAL – http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/11065095/