Is the Mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Finally Solved? Theory Involving Croatoans Floated in New Book

An illustration depicts the moment Englishman John White returned to the colony to discover only the word "CROATOAN" carved on a post.
An illustration depicts the moment Englishman John White returned to the colony to discover only the word "CROATOAN" carved on a post. (Getty)

What happened to the Lost Colony? A researcher said the mystery behind a group of English settlers’ 1587 disappearance “was made up.”

“They were never lost. It was made up. The mystery is over,” archaeologist Scott Dawson claimed in his new book “The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island.”

After 11 years of researching records and artifacts with a team of experts, Dawson said his conclusion was that the colony simply left Roanoke Island with the Croatoans, the small Native American group, to resettle on Hatteras Island, where their populations mixed and endured for generations.

While the conclusion seems straightforward, the fate of the Lost Colony has stumped Americans for years.

The mystery began with Englishman John White’s 1587 expedition. White and other settlers arrived to Roanoke Island to set up a permanent colony when he had to return to England for more supplies. His return journey took three years, and when he returned, his settlers were gone, and the only hint he had of where they left was the word “CROATOAN” they carved on a post.

White was never able to reach Hatteras Island, and eventually returned to England without seeing his colony ever again.

Even though the fate of the settlers inspired many conspiracy theories, fiction novels and horror films, Dawson said he hopes his new conclusion will lead to more understanding and insight on the indigenous population. “These were a people that mattered a lot,” Dawson explained. “You’re robbing an entire nation of people of their history by pretending Croatoan is a mystery on the tree.”

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