Free October 2017 Symposium


Westward Ho! Roanoke, the Map, and X Marks the Spot

Detail of ” La Virginea Pars” by John White showing the area of one of two paper patches (the northern patch) stuck to the map (P&D 1906,0509.1.3 (detail), © Trustees of the British Museum

Beginning on the 27th of October through the 29th, this inaugural OBX History Weekend Event is an international symposium of two and a half days length, the first full day (27th) being focused on new information on Raleigh’s  Roanoke Island colonies & the John White-Thomas Harriot Virginea Pars Map—with all its secret symbols.

For the following day and a half (28, 29), the Event focus follows the continuum of colonization, enhanced by discoveries made during the first colony, to the fabled relocation of the 1587 lost colony and the Native Americans they may have encountered from Roanoke Island to Jamestown—including in the study, a close look at the Jamestown settlers’ attempts to locate the lost colony.

While the activities associated with the event are of several types, at the core is a series of thirteen scholarly, public-oriented 30-minute presentations, and two 20-minute interactive discussion sessions spearheaded by pre-eminent history and archaeology authorities. All Symposium presentations take place at the US Fish & Wildlife Visitor Center on the north-end of Roanoke Island. Admission to the symposium is FREE. 

Symposium Schedule

Friday 27 October 2017
The First Colony & Virginea Pars Map

9:00am – 9:30am: NPS Supt. Dave Hallac, DCC Chair Robert Woodard, ER&CO Pres. Kathy Horne
9:30am – 10:05am: Mr. Brent Lane

The First Tech Venture? Scientific Expertise and the Financing of the Roanoke Colony

10:05am – 10:40am: Dr. Beverly Straube

Everything but the Kitchen Sink: Packing for the New World

10:40am – 11:00am: Morning Break

11:00am – 11:35am: Dr. Gabriel de Avilez Rocha

Rethinking the Black Legend of ‘Simon Fernandez’: New Perspectives from the Iberian Atlantic

11:35am – 12:10pm: Dr. Guy Prentice

Castaways: Recognizing Lost Sixteen Century Europeans on America’s Atlantic Shores

12:10pm – 1:45pm: Lunch Break

[options for lunch & events during the break]

1:45pm – 2:10pm: Mr. Peter Barber, OBE, FRHistS

John White’s Maps and Tudor Cartography

2:10pm – 2:45pm: Dr. Kim Sloan

Paper Patches: An Analysis of La Virginea Pars map in the British Museum

2:45pm – 3:05pm: Afternoon Break

3:05pm – 3:40pm: Dr. Eric Klingelhofer

Images and Absences: Interpreting John White’s Picture-Maps

3:40pm – 4:00pm: Mr. Lane, Dr. Straube, Dr. Rocha, Dr. Prentice, Dr. Sloan, Dr. Klingelhofer

First Colony and Map Panel Q/A Discussion

Saturday 28 October 2017
The 1587 Lost Colony

9:00am – 9:35am: Mr. Nicholas Luccketti

Site X: The Prima Facie Evidence

9:35am – 10:10am: Mr. Edward Clay Swindell

The Pots John White Painted: Redefining Colington Series Pottery

10:10am – 10:30am: Morning Break

10:30am – 11:05am: Dr. Randolph Turner, III

Searching for Skicoak: A Review of Historical and Archaeological Evidence Related to the Chesepians, 1584-1586

11:05am – 11:40am: Dr. Karen Kupperman

Native Knowledge in the Work of Thomas Harriot and John White

11:40am – 1:40pm: Lunch Break

[options for lunch & events during the break]

1:40pm – 2:15pm: Dr. James Horn

“Into the Maine”… Why They Went West

2:15pm – 2:50pm: Mr. Phillip Evans

Lost Colony Fables and Fakes

2:50pm – 3:10pm: Afternoon Break

3:10pm – 3:30pm: Mr. Luccketti, Mr. Swindell, Dr. Turner, Dr. Horn, Dr. Kupperman, Mr. Evans

Round Table Discussion – The 1587 Lost Colony

3:30pm – 3:40pm: Mr. Phillip Evans

Concluding Remarks

Download The Full Schedule

Symposium Presenters

On the first day of the symposium, there are seven presentations and two panel discussions, the first one focusing on the Roanoke colonies and the second on the Virginea Pars map.

The presenters and their topics are:

9:30am – 10:05am
Brent Lane, an economics professor with a strong interest in and knowledge of the Roanoke colonies, is currently Director of the Carolina Center for Competitive Economics at UNC-Chapel Hill. It was his probing questions that led to a scientific analysis of the Virginea Pars map. Approaching the study of the Roanoke ventures from a totally new point of view, his symposium presentation is entitled The First Tech Venture? Scientific Expertise and the Financing of the Roanoke Colony. 

10:05am – 10:40am
Dr. Beverly Straube, FSA, is an authority on artifacts found on Anglo-American sites dating to the 16th and 17th centuries. For twenty-one years she served as the Senior Archaeological Curator for the Jamestown Rediscovery Project and has published many articles on the material found in excavations of the 1607-24 James Fort. She is currently the Curator of the First Colony Foundation. Her symposium topic is Everything but the Kitchen Sink: Packing for the New World

11:00am – 11:35am
Dr. Gabriel de Avilez Rocha, Assistant Professor of History at Drexel University has focused his interest on the Atlantic World and Colonial Studies. His recent research has led to new information about Governor John White’s nemesis, the irascible ship’s pilot Master Simon Fernandez. Dr. Rocha’s topic for the symposium is Rethinking the Black Legend of ‘Simon Fernandez’: New Perspectives from the Iberian Atlantic.

11:35am – 12:10pm
Dr. Guy Prentice is Program Manager of the Region-wide Archaeological Survey Program at the National Park Service’s South Eastern Archaeological Center where he has spent his career involved with archeological investigations in the Southeast ranging from 10,000 year old rock-shelters to the Civil War prison at Andersonville, Georgia, and many sites between. His topic for the symposium is Castaways: Recognizing Lost Sixteenth Century Europeans on America’s Atlantic Shores.

1:45pm – 2:10pm
Peter Barber, OBE, now retired, is the former head of the British Library’s Map Collection and a renowned scholar of Tudor cartography. He is the author of two books, The Map Book and Magnificent Maps, which found broad audiences. His symposium topic is John White’s Maps and Tudor Cartography.

2:10pm – 2:45pm
Dr. Kim Sloan, Curator of pre-1880 British Drawings and Watercolors at the British Museum, spearheaded the scientific analysis of the Virginea Pars map, revealing hidden symbols and images. She also mounted the most recent American tour of John White’s drawings in 2007 and authored the latest scholarly book on the gentleman-artist, A New World, England’s First View of America. Her symposium presentation is Paper Patches: An Analysis of La Virginea Pars map in the British Museum.

3:05pm – 3:40pm
Dr. Eric Klingelhofer, Research Fellow and Emeritus Professor of History at Mercer University, is an expert in medieval archaeology and proto-colonial archaeology. His archival research, archaeological investigations and publications have been and are prolific—numerous quests in Ireland, the Caribbean, Europe and North America. He is also a Vice President of Research for First Colony Foundation.  His symposium topic is Images and Absences: Interpreting John White’s Picture-Maps.

3:40pm – 4:00pm
MAP PANEL Q/A DISCUSSION—Klingelhofer, Sloan, Barber


On the second day of the symposium, there are six presentations and one-panel discussion, all of which focus on the 1587 lost colony.

The presenters and their topics are:

9:00am – 9:35am
Nicholas M.  Luccketti specializes in early colonial archaeology in the Chesapeake area. He is the principal investigator/archaeologist and President of the James River Institute for Archaeology, and also a Vice President of Research with First Colony Foundation. His symposium topic is Site X: The Prima Facie Evidence.

9:35am – 10:10am
Edward Clay Swindell is the recognized expert on the subject of Carolina Algonkians. Currently, he is Collections Specialist/Assistant Curator at the Museum of the Albemarle. His symposium topic is The Pots John White Painted: Redefining Colington Series Pottery.

10:30am – 11:05am
Dr. Randolph Turner, former Senior Prehistoric Archaeologist for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, is an authority on Native Americans of the Chesapeake and the co-author of Before and After Jamestown: Virginia’s Powhatans and Their Predecessors. His symposium topic is Searching for Skicoak: Historical and Archaeological Evidence for the Chesepians, 1584-1586.

11:05am – 11:40am
Dr. Karen Kupperman, an expert in the study of relations between Native Americans and early British colonials in the Early Modern Atlantic World, is Julius Silver Professor Emerita of History at New York University. Her symposium topic is Native Knowledge in the Work of Thomas Harriot and John White.

1:40pm – 2:15pm
Dr. James Horn, one of the leading historians in the study of the American colonies, is currently President and Chief Officer of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation at Historic Jamestown. His latest publication, A Kingdom Strange, focuses on the Roanoke Island settlements. For the symposium, his topic is “Into the Maine”: Why They Went West.

2:15pm – 2:50pm
Phillip W. Evans, currently an attorney, is a 17-year veteran of the National Park Service, having served as historian at Fort Raleigh for most of that time.  In that capacity he knew and worked with the premier Roanoke Voyages historians and archaeologists in the world. He is one of the leading historians in the field and is President of First Colony Foundation. His topic for the symposium is Lost Colony Fables and Fakes.

3:10pm – 3:40pm
Round-Table Discussion—Evans, Horn, Kupperman, Turner, Swindell, Luccketti.

Evening Activities

Boat Cruise Pirates Cove Marina – Saturday, 28 October ONLY, depart Pirates Cove Marina for an unforgettable round-trip hour & a half sunset cruise to Fort Raleigh, following the water-route taken by Lost Colony Govenor John White. Historical narrative en route. $20 per person. To book go to: Book: Roanoke Island Sunset Cruise and follow the instructions on site.

Dinner – Friday 27 October, 7:30pm – The symposium presenters will be dining at Blue Water Grill at Pirates Cove. We have been given a choice of 5 menus (salad & entrée) at $30 per person. Want to join us? Tell the hostess you’re there as a part of OBX History Weekend and the management will give you the same rate we have.

Air Tours to Site X – Arrange your own Schedule

Charter flight tours from Dare County Airport on Roanoke Island to Site X are available on 26 and 27 October with Outer Banks Airlines. The plane holds up to 5 passengers. The cost for one-hour customized tour is $465 per plane.

To Book Go To: and click Cost Estimates; select Customized Outer Banks Air Tour; fill in the form. You will be notified of availability and cost. If availability and cost are acceptable to you, payment will be requested and your flight scheduled. You must make your reservations by 19 October.

The information given at this symposium is almost certain to change the way historians and the general public view the story of the Roanoke Island colonies.

We appreciate the response, but our symposium is now full. We are currently taking names for our waiting list. Please click below to sign up, and we will notify you if space becomes available. All of the other events are open to the public and will not fill up. The symposium room is the only limited space event of the weekend.

The History Weekend Symposium event is produced by First Colony Foundation in partnership with Elizabeth R & Company, the NPS at Fort Raleigh and the US Fish & Wildlife Visitor Center. Major support groups are the Dare County Arts Council and the Friends of the Outer Banks History Center.

Funded in part by The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and the Outer Banks Community Foundation.