Early English settlers believed to have assimilated into tribes

Archaeologist Mark Horton, right, works at a dig site in North Carolina. Photo from Croatoan Archaeological Society

Researchers are presenting findings today that suggest the early English settlers at the infamous Roanoke Colony joined up with local tribes and became a part of their communities.

Explorers had already formed relationships with tribes in present-day North Carolina by the time the colony was formed in 1587. But no one has been able explain with certainty where the residents of Roanoke went after they abandoned the site sometime before 1590, leaving only the words "CROATOAN" and "Cro" carved into trees.

Two independent teams of researchers now believe they know where those early settlers ended up. They have been excavating two different sites where they found European artifacts and other items that could have only come from that particular era.

“We have evidence from this site that strongly indicates that there were Roanoke colonists here," archaeologist Nick Luccketti of the First Colony Foundation told The New York Times of a place dubbed "Site X."

“The evidence is that they assimilated with the Native Americans but kept their goods,” archaeologist Mark Horton, who has been working with the Croatoan Archaeological Society, told National Geographic, referring to the second site.

Luccketti's group is presenting its findings today.

Get the Story:
The Roanoke Island Colony: Lost, and Found? (The New York Times 8/11)
Archaeologists Find New Clues to “Lost Colony” Mystery (History.Com 8/10)
We Finally Have Clues to How America's Lost Colony Vanished (National Geographic 8/7)

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