First Colony Foundation archaeologists zero in on site of Algonquian village
Published 8:08 am Thursday, May 4, 2023
Ground penetrating radar tests at Roanoke Island’s Elizabethan Gardens may soon reveal the location of an Algonquian village, where local natives entertained the first English explorers to America’s shores in 1584, a spokesman for First Colony Foundation says. Results are expected by May.
The expanded survey, which began in April, will again be conducted on behalf of First Colony by Chartrand Geoarchaeological Solutions of Williamsburg, Va., which conducted initial ground tests at the gardens site in January. The goal is to locate evidence for the as-yet-undiscovered Algonquian village of Roanoac. When completed, the electronic survey will create three-dimensional views of the site, buried beneath at least six feet of sand dune.
“Roanoke is such a place of mystery,” says Eric Klingelhofer, one of FCF’s vice presidents for research. “So much has already been lost to the sands of time, which is why finding the site of this Algonquian village will be an important step forward in in understanding America’s beginnings so long ago.”
Captains Phillip Amadas and Arthur Barlow visited the village during their 1584 reconnaissance mission, aimed at establishing the first English settlement in America. The explorers described the village as consisting of “of nine houses, built of cedar, and fortified round with sharp trees,” as protection against their enemies.
“The Elizabethan Gardens is a memorial to the lost colonists and will forever be a part of that mystery,” says Theresa Armendarez, the Gardens’ executive director. “To find artifacts from that time in America’s early history would be an exciting addition to our unique history.”
RIHA historian lebame houston adds, “First Colony Foundation’s research and discoveries have brought us a giant step closer to finding the location of Roanoac, the Native American village that was here during Sir Walter Raleigh’s early explorations and attempts at colonization. In 1584, shortly after their arrival, Captains Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, by invitation, dined with the Native Americans in their village. That friendly event holds a special place in our history – and is frequently considered as the ‘Point of First Contact.’”
The First Colony Foundation, formed in April 2003, is dedicated to conducting archaeological and historical research, combined with public education and interpretation, relating to the story of America’s beginnings with the attempts by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish English colonies at Roanoke Island in the 1580s under his charter from Queen Elizabeth I. For more information, visit firstcolonyfoundation.org.
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