First Colony Foundation Using Archaeology and Historical Research to Find Sir Walter Raleigh's Roanoke Island Colonies
In Search of the First Colony
First Colony Foundation Awarded National Geographic Society/Waitt Grant for Research in 2013
February 13, 2013

Gordon Watts consults with team members Bill Utley and Ray Hayes on underwater survey work (left to right)
Gordon Watts consults with team members Bill Utley and Ray Hayes on underwater survey work (left to right)
The First Colony Foundation is pleased to announce that the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants program has awarded a grant of $15,000 in support of the research project titled "Clues to the Lost Colony? Remote Sensing and Site Testing along Albemarle Sound, Bertie County, North Carolina." First Colony Foundation Research Vice President Dr. Eric Klingelhofer will serve as principal investigator and will coordinate the multi-pronged research strategy proposed by the FCF team for 2013.

This research project will combine remote sensing and archaeological testing on locations where the recently discovered image of a fort symbol on the manuscript map of Sir Walter Raleigh's "Virginia" suggests a location for his "Lost Colony." The disappearance of the entire group of 117 settlers, the first English overseas colony, has remained an historical enigma over four centuries. Its solution would provide not only information about Elizabethan colonization, but also new information on contact between settlers and native Algonkians.

Three coordinated efforts will examine the locality by land, sea, and air. Aerial photographic and satellite imaging analysis will be followed by geophysical sensing through magnetometry and ground-penetrating radar . Side-scan sonar and marine magnetometry will be used to detect submerged anomalies along the Albemarle shoreline. On land, archaeologists will conduct surface surveys and test excavations to locate early colonial sites, recover 16th-century artifacts and determine datable features. First Colony Foundation researchers Nicholas Luccketti and Dr. Gordon Watts will supervise the land and underwater efforts. For the aerial and satellite imagery analysis and the geophysical survey, First Colony Foundation researcher Clay Swindell will join with Dr. Malcolm Lecompte and the Center for Remote Sensing Education and Research at Elizabeth City State University.

The First Colony Foundation is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in North Carolina and established for the purpose of sponsoring archaeological research, historical research, and public education relating to the early period of American colonial history, and specifically to the colonies attempted on Roanoke Island by Sir Walter Raleigh under a charter from Queen Elizabeth I.

For more information about the First Colony Foundation's work, contact: Phil Evans at info@firstcolonyfoundation.org or 919-767-1050.

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