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Lost Colony clues as Dare Stone analyzed on Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven

A recreation of possible events in Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven on History
A recreation of possible events in Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven on History

The hunt for the Lost Colony of Roanoke continues tonight in TV special Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven — in the hope that the fates of seven supposed survivors can finally be revealed and change American history.

The History show sees stonework experts Jim and Bill Vieira analyze the famous Dare Stone, with hopes it holds clues to the mystery behind the Roanoke Colony.

It was set up in what is today’s Dare County, North Carolina, by Sir Walter Raleigh for Queen Elizabeth I in 1584 in a bid to create a permanent English settlement in North America.

However, during the Anglo-Spanish war, three years after the colony got its last shipment of supplies from England, they disappeared.

A map showing the location of the Roanoke Colony, drawn by John White in 1585
A map showing the location of the Roanoke Colony, drawn by John White in 1585

Nobody has ever been able to say conclusively what happened to the colonists. In the late 1930s and early 1940s a string of stones, known as the Dare Stones, were discovered which suggested clues as to what happened.

They were said to have been written by Eleanor Dare, one of the colonists and mother to the first English child born in the New World, Virginia Dare.

It was claimed inscriptions on the stones told the story of where the colonists travelled to and how they died. Most historians say the stones are fakes, but some to this day believe at least one is genuine.

The first stone was found by tourist L.E. Hammond in 1937. One one side it said that Eleanor’s husband and daughter had died, and on the other said all but seven of the colonists had been killed at the hands of savages.

The death message, which asked the finder to inform Eleanor’s father of her husband and daughter’s passing, read:

Ananias Dare &
Virginia Went Hence
Unto Heaven 1591
Anye Englishman Shew
John White Govr Via

The original Dare Stone, showing the inscription on both sides
The original Dare Stone, showing the inscription on both sides. Pic: Brenau University
The inscriptions are analyzed by Jim and Bill Vieira on the show
The inscriptions are analyzed by Jim and Bill Vieira on the show

Forty-seven other stones were later found, said to have been addressed to the colony’s governor John White, and gave clues as to where the colonists had headed, with one suggesting they had gone to Nacoochee Valley in today’s White County, Georgia.

On Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven, Jim and Bill Vieira compare the inscription on the original Dare Stone against historical records and other clues left behind by Captain John Smith of Jamestown.

He helped establish Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America.

Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven follow’s History’s Roanoke: Search for the Lost Colony, which aired in 2015.

Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven airs tonight, March 26, at 9/8c on History.


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