Thursday, June 5, 2008

Artifacts Uncovered In Archeological Excavation In Ft. Raleigh Park

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
National Park News

Wednesday, Jun 4, 2008

An archeological excavation being conducted this year in an effort to answer some of the many questions regarding the mystery of the Lost Colony has turned up a number of important discoveries, including copper plates and 16th century English artifacts.

In 2006, the Southeast Archaeological Center conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of three areas of Fort Raleigh National Historic Site as part of a regionwide archaeological survey.

Although the survey identified many anomalies, NPS archaeologists determined that only two of them warranted additional field exploration. The two anomalies of interest appeared to be rectangular-shaped. Since rectangular-shaped objects do not normally occur in nature, it was presumed that the anomalies were cultural in origin and might possibly be structures or features associated with the original colony.

A team of archaeologists and geophysicists began work at the sites earlier this year. Archeologists used radar tomography technology to provide an accurate picture of what was buried beneath the surface.

The most important discoveries were 14 copper plates and some 16th century English artifacts. The copper squares was pierced at opposite corners and were lying edge-to-edge in the ground, indicating that they had been strung together like a necklace. The other artifacts included an English tobacco pipe bowl, a gray flint (probable gunspall), a 1.25 inch diameter lead ball, Spanish olive jar sherds, one crucible sherd, and three delftware glazed ceramic chips.

The second small rectangular-cut pit contained 17 white and one blue glass Venetian glass beads that English colonists brought to America to trade with Indians. Other finds included 16th-century type Indian and European potsherds, nails, part of an iron knife, and an Indian red clay tobacco pipe. The rectangular pit could actually have been a posthole for a structure.