In DepthArchaeology

Dig seeks site of first English settlement in the New World

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Science  08 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6393, pp. 1056
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6393.1056

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In 1587, more than 100 men, women, and children settled on Roanoke Island, in what is now North Carolina. War with Spain prevented speedy resupply of the colony—the first English settlement in the New World, backed by Elizabethan courtier Sir Walter Raleigh. When a search-and-rescue mission arrived 3 years later, the town was abandoned and the colonists had vanished. Despite more than a century of intensive digging, no trace has been found of the colonists' town—only the remains of a small workshop and an earthen fort that, according to a study to be published later this year, may have been built after what is commonly called the Lost Colony. Now, after a long hiatus, archaeologists plan to resume digging this fall, hoping to find the colonists' abandoned town and learn more about early English ventures into the New World.