Saturday, September 22, 2007

'Lost Colony' search goes on centuries later

North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.
The Elizabeth II was one of the 16th-century ships that delivered members of the
so-called Lost Colony to the New World. The replica seen in this 2001 photo can
be found at the Roanoke

By Mike Baker, Associated Press

GREAT DISMAL SWAMP, N.C. — After trudging for two hours through thick vegetation to a blurry mark found on Google Earth, George Ray started making up a song: "If you're lost, I'll find you tomorrow," he sang in a thick Southern drawl.
Or, perhaps, he'll find you four centuries later.

Ray is one of the many amateur archaeologists entranced by the Lost Colony — the 117 English settlers who disappeared from North Carolina's Outer Banks in the late 1500s, having left behind only a single clue to their fate. In all the years since, no one has found much of anything else.

But there have long been stories told about a rotting boat in the Great Dismal Swamp, a national wildlife refuge that straddles North Carolina's border with Virginia. Ray's colleagues think the colonists may have passed through the swamp after leaving Roanoke Island. They studied satellite images until they found something that looked like a boat, then set out to find it.
"We're not looking for gold," Ray said. "We're looking for history."

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