Wednesday, July 08, 2009

PBS Time Team America: Fort Raleigh and the New World's lost settlement on Roanoke Island, NC

PBS Weta tonight aired an episode of “Time Team America”, an examination of the Roanoke Island “Fort Raleigh” colony off the North Carolina Coast, actually the site of the first attempted English settlement in the New World in the late 1500s. The basic show website link is here The complete video link is here. A young artist named Colin Campbell is the host, and he draws many of the hypothetical structures described in the show. There is a team of archeologists from various universities, and there is some digging with heavy equipment, especially around an original trench.

The first settlement comprised young men and boys, and they were more concerned about the Spanish than Indians. The next wave did include women.

Families had no privacy living in original settlements. There may have been at most 20 buildings, each with a large room and storage area, built around a frame of stilts.

The Indians were killed by diseases brought by the English, whom the Indians perceived as coming from the “alternate level of life” and as shooting “invisible bullets”.

Stephen King’s “Storm of the Century”, aired as a TV movie in 1999, referred to the “disappearance” from Roanoke Island. But the evidence is that the colonists probably moved inland.

Attribution link for Fort Raleigh Theater from Wikimedia commons.

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