Our slender chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, witnessed the English's first attempted settlement in the New World during the late 16th century. In 1584 on Hatteras Island the English landed with the goal of establishing a permanent presence in the Americas. Led by John White, the settlers faced numerous challenges, from harsh weather conditions to local battles. These difficulties, combined with the outbreak of war between England and Spain, led to a dire situation. John White left for England to secure reinforcements and supplies, but upon his return, he found the colony abandoned. The story of what has been referred to as the "Roanoke Colony" in the 20th century and the Croatoan tribe is being unearthed today by the Croatoan Archaeology Society
CAS, an Outer Banks non-profit, is a dedicated and passionate group of individuals and professionals who focus their efforts on the exploration and excavation of historical sites related to the enigmatic Roanoke Colony and the Croatoan people. Founded by historians, archaeologists, and enthusiasts, the society's primary mission is to uncover the hidden artifacts of this intriguing period in American history. The society's activities include archaeological digs, historical research, preservation efforts, and public outreach including school field trips. Through their excavations and studies, the society aims to preserve artifacts while teaching the history of the Roanoke Colony and Croatoan tribe.
CAS partnered with Professor of Archaeology Mark Horton of Bristol University, England to excavate the Croatoan village sites from Buxton to Hatteras back in 2009. These excavations last two or three weeks and have been done once a year since their initial dig.
A recent dig added another amazing find to add to the many that have already been found. An Elizabethan aged bronze Tudor Rose with a typology of 1500 to 1550. It was found in a Croatoan midden. This is not the first time Elizabethan English artifacts have been found on Hatteras. Among the top finds are a Nuremberg token from a casting counter that is identical to three found at Fort Raleigh on Roanoke and another found in Frisco, a swept hilt rapier sword handle with a makers mark, a snaphaunce gunlock, smelted copper bun, writing slate with an image on it, window glass, brass tudor buttons, a glass arrowhead, gun barrel, all sorts of iron tools and worked copper.
All of these things along with the Croatoan artifacts found with them are on display for free at the Lost Colony Museum
(Mile 61 next to Fatty's in Buxton, NC). Members of the Croatoan Archaeology Society are committed to fostering a deep appreciation for the rich historical heritage of the Outer Banks and the cultural significance of the Croatoan people in the region. Their work not only contributes to the field of historical research but also helps to preserve and celebrate the unique history of this area, creating a bridge between the past and the present for the benefit of future generations.
Cape Hatteras Secondary School's 8th Grade found buckets of artifacts during their field trip to the Lost Colony Museum.