“Roanoke Colonies Archaeology and History Week” Awarded Meekins Grant

The First Colony Foundation (www.firstcolonyfoundation.org), the National Park Service (www.nps.gov/fora), and The Friends of Outer Banks History Center (www.obhistorycenter.ncdcr.gov) announced that “Roanoke Colonies Archaeology and History Week” October 10-16, 2011, presented through support of a generous $30,000 grant from the Percy W. and Elizabeth G. Meekins Charitable Trust, will include a weeklong series of events with exhibits, theatre, symposium, and archaeological research.

Roanoke Colonies Archaeology and History Week [A&H WEEK], combines a professional archaeological search for evidence of Sir Walter Raleigh’s colonies and Algonkian habitation on Roanoke Island, with an interactive educational classroom without walls, an exhibit of artifacts, and a public symposium focused on new discoveries.

Two of the nation’s pre-eminent historical archaeologists, Dr. Eric Klingelhofer and Nicholas Luccketti, will direct and train selected high school students and adult volunteers in field excavations.

The original play, “Shepherd of the Ocean” will be presented on Monday evening, October 10, by Elizabeth R & Company (www.elizabethr.org). Elizabeth R & Company is a non-profit historical, educational and professional theatre organization committed to scholarly research and publication, and to the interpretation of history through theatre and film. “Shepherd of the Ocean” is a whimsical comedy about Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh’s mercurial relationship. The play begins in 1618 at Raleigh’s execution in the Old Palace yard, just before his execution. In the second before the axe strikes, Raleigh thinks about the queen and in his mind’s eye is transported to the astral plane where the queen materializes in full regalia. They laugh and cry and review some of their past triumphs and failures as Raleigh attempts to understand the nature of their true feelings for each other. Miss Barbara Hird is Queen Elizabeth and Chris Chappell is Sir Walter Raleigh. The play runs about 50 minutes.

Other evenings of A&H Week, Tuesday-Friday, noted archaeologists and historians will present free public programs on the latest research on the Algonkians of North Carolina, the origins of Sir Walter Raleigh’s colonists, and the scientific search for the archaeological remains of the Roanoke colonies. Programs will be presented at the Manteo Campus of the College of the Albemarle.

Archaeological discoveries never before exhibited will be placed on exhibit in the Lindsay Warren Visitor Center at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, which is expected to reopen this summer after months of renovation. The exhibit will show how scientific analysis of these objects, when combined with historical context, can provide clues to what may be America’s greatest historical mystery.

Representatives from the First Colony Foundation, National Park Service, and Outer Banks History Center are preparing for the archaeological fieldwork, public programs, and museum exhibits.

The Percy W. and Elizabeth G. Meekins Charitable Trust was established by the Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth G. Meekins, who died October 1, 1995. The Trust was created to enhance the cultural resources and educational opportunities of the citizens of Dare County, North Carolina, and to give recognition to Percy W. and Elizabeth G. Meekins. Percy and Lib Meekins loved Dare County; this Trust memorializes their desire to encourage and enrich the lives of the wonderful people who continue to call Dare County their home.

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 under a charter from Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, a unit of the United States National Park Service, Department of the Interior, is near Manteo, North Carolina. It is home to Paul Green’s outdoor symphonic drama “The Lost Colony,” and the site of America’s first English colony.

The Outer Banks History Center is a regional archives and research library, administered by the North Carolina State Archives, Department of Cultural Resources located in historic Manteo, North Carolina. The center collects, preserves, and interprets the history and culture of the North Carolina coast. The Friends of the Outer Banks History Center play a crucial role in supporting the mission of the Outer Banks History Center by funding the purchase and conservation of valuable documents and research materials, and by supporting outreach and promotional activities and events. For more information about the center, see www.obhistorycenter.ncdcr.gov.

For more information about the Roanoke Colonies Archaeology and History Week, or the First Colony Foundation’s work, contact: Phil Evans at info@firstcolonyfoundation.org or 919-767-1050.