The Lost Colony may now be found





It’s a typical day at the Hatteras Histories and Mysteries Museum in Buxton, N.C., and Scott Dawson is buzzing around glass cases full of centuries-old arrowheads and broken pottery. Puzzled visitors listen as he explains for the gazillionth time the difference between fact and speculation. • He speaks with certainty in a voice tinged with more than a hint of frustration. • “Anybody who researches it knows that the colony came down here,” he says, confidently dismissing competing theories on America’s oldest unsolved mystery. • The artifacts, many unearthed during archaeological digs in the past year, may hold the clues that finally answer the question: What happened to the Lost Colony, a group of 117 Englishmen who settled on a tiny island off the North Carolina coast and then vanished with barely a trace?

The 32-year-old Dawson has a personal stake in what happened to the early settlers. The son of a family whose roots can be traced back to the Croatoan Indians, he thinks his ancestors have been falsely maligned by the legends that have grown up around the case of the missing Englishmen.

It’s a typical day at the Hatteras Histories and Mysteries Museum in Buxton, N.C., and Scott Dawson is buzzing around glass cases full of centuries-old arrowheads and broken pottery. Puzzled visitors listen as he explains for the gazillionth time the difference between fact and speculation. • He speaks with certainty in a voice tinged with more than a hint of frustration. • “Anybody who researches it knows that the colony came down here,” he says, confidently dismissing competing theories on America’s oldest unsolved mystery. • The artifacts, many unearthed during archaeological digs in the past year, may hold the clues that finally answer the question: What happened to the Lost Colony, a group of 117 Englishmen who settled on a tiny island off the North Carolina coast and then vanished with barely a trace?

The 32-year-old Dawson has a personal stake in what happened to the early settlers. The son of a family whose roots can be traced back to the Croatoan Indians, he thinks his ancestors have been falsely maligned by the legends that have grown up around the case of the missing Englishmen.

Today, that place is called Buxton and the villages that border it to the south on Hatteras. Home to the Croatoan tribe for more than a thousand years, it’s a place Dawson knows well.

Dawson’s research has revealed an important fact that he thinks other historians have overlooked or dismissed as insignificant: Two tribes inhabited the land near the Lost Colony’s settlement – two distinct tribes with their own dialects, cultures and social hierarchies. Two rival tribes with polarized opinions of white settlers.

His research, combined with his intimate knowledge of Hatteras Island, has led Dawson to conclude that the Lost Colony must have abandoned its settlement on Roanoke Island, traveled south and eventually assimilated into the Croatoan tribe – all in an effort to escape the threat of the Secotan.

As history has given way to legend, Dawson believes the Croatoan have been denied their rightful place in American history as people who welcomed foreigners into their home.....


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