Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lost Colony: New clues, old mystery Recently recovered artifacts being identified

Wednesday August 13, 2008

The artifacts from the May 2008 archaeological excavations at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site have been researched and verified.

According to an interim report submitted to the National Park Service by Phillip Evans, Eric Klingelhofer, Nick Luccketti, and Clay Swindell, all of the First Colony Foundation (FCF), hundreds of the discoveries date back to the era of The Lost Colony.

The project was initially planned to excavate two areas where anomalies had previously been detected by ground penetrating radar surveys. The two areas contained rectangular shaped objects, which according to the report, "do not normally occur in nature, it is presumed that the anomalies are cultural in origin and could possibly be structures or features associated with the original colony."

Working with Time Team USA, an American version of the BBC archaeological series broadcasted since 1994, FCF began their twelve day excavation. Time Team USA excavated for three of the twelve days, bringing together multiple specialists and a film crew to document the project.

There were numerous findings during the excavation, including copper plates and 215 Native American pottery sherds. The sherds verified to date are separated into three series: Colington series, Cashie series, and Untyped fine sand tempered series.

As described in the report, the Colington phase covers the Late Woodland period in the Albemarle region. The material is affiliated with those that formed the chiefdoms and were visited and described by the English explorers in the 1580s. The shell tempered ceramics vary little through time and house an unusual display of decorative designs.

Also included in the Colington phase are motif engraved ceramic smoking pipes, bone/shell tools, marine shell/stone, copper, beads, ornaments, and pendants. There were a total of 208 Colington series artifacts discovered during the excavation.