Lost Colony Weekend Examines the Evidence

Virginia Pars Map Holds Tantalizing Clues

The Virginia Pars map.
The Virginia Pars map.

Will the mystery of the Lost Colony ever be solved? Probably not. That, at least, is the consensus of experts who gathered at an international symposium hosted by the First Colony Foundation.

As one of the archeologists on hand remarked in an offhand moment, “Unless we find the skeletal remains of Virginia Dare (the first British child born in the Americas) holding a doll, probably not.”

Nonetheless, the conjecture goes on.

Much of the focus at the symposium was on the Virginia Pars Map, a map of coastal Virginia and North Carolina that has resided at the British Museum for some time.

It was an innocent question that one of the researcher of the First Colony Foundation—a North Carolina group trying to unravel the mystery—asked. Looking at the map, there appeared to be a spot that had been blotted out.

If it was blotted out, what was under it?

As it turned out, what was under it may have been very significant.

It appears as though what lies hidden was a symbol often used to designate a fort or permanent structure. The location would be at the mouth of the Chowan River across from Edenton.

The map itself, drawn by John White, the first leader of the expedition, is remarkable in it’s detail. One of the presentation at the symposium presented the minutiae of White’s drawings, that even in miniature depicted individual soldiers, officers and the activities of the troop.

The map is also very accurate—a map certainly designed to be used for navigation. Although not as precise as anything we can produce today, the Chowan River is clearly marked and in the right place. Cape Hatteras is denoted, as well as a number of inlets that no longer exist.

Because it was so accurate and contained such detail, there are a number of questions about why White covered up the fort when he finished the map. Did it no longer exist? Was he concerned that if it fell into Spanish hands, the lives of his colonists would be endangered?

We have no way of knowing and the quest goes on.

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