New Book: Excavating the Lost Colony Mystery

New Book Illuminates Haunting Mystery and Brings the Latest Research Together

As clues unfold, a new book promises to provide readers with the latest findings in the quest to solve America’s most enduring cold case: The fate of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony.

“Excavating the Lost Colony Mystery,” published by the First Colony Foundation and the University of North Carolina Press, showcases current research by historians, archaeologists and other experts, plus a trove of rare maps, illustrations and photos of never-before-seen artifacts unearthed during recent excavations.

“While some of the Lost Colony’s mysteries may never be solved,” says Eric Klingelhofer, First Colony’s vice president for research, who edited and contributed to the book, “important discoveries have been made – and continue to be made – that shed light on this haunting chapter at the very beginning of English settlement in America.”

For generations, scholars have speculated on the disappearance of more than a hundred of Raleigh’s intrepid colonists, with the only clue to what happened being cryptic messages carved on a tree and on a gatepost at the entry to their mysteriously vacant settlement.

But in 2012, an exciting new line of inquiry opened when a hidden symbol was discovered on an Elizabethan map, marking a place where Lost Colony settlers may have relocated. Called “Site X” by archaeologists, the area has yielded a wealth of Native American and English pottery sherds from the Elizabethan time period.

In addition to Klingelhofer, contributors to “Excavating the Lost Colony Mystery” include a roster of esteemed Lost Colony experts, including: Peter Barber, Phillip Evans, James Horn, Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Nicholas Luccketti, Kim Sloan, Beverly Straube, and Edward Clay Swindell.

Timely reminder: “’Tis the season,” Klingelhofer says, with a wink. “This book would make a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone interested in the latest information in the Lost Colony story.”

To obtain a copy, contact UNC Press, at  or local bookstores, including Downtown Books, in Manteo; Buxton Village Books, in Buxton; Island Bookstore, with locations in Corolla, Duck (Scarborough Faire) and Kitty Hawk; and Page After Page Bookstore, in Elizabeth City.


ABOUT FIRST COLONY: 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.