Unit 7 - Search for the Cittie of Ralegh

The "Cittie of Ralegh" is the name of the settlement that the 1587 colonists planned to create on the shores of Chesapeake Bay. The only known site actually inhabited by the planters is the vicinity of the settlement built in 1585 by the Ralph Lane Colony on the north end of Roanoke Island, North Carolina. This area has traditionally been identified as the location of the "Cittie of Ralegh," but no one knows whether the "Cittie" was ever more than a legal entity. Archaeological investigations in the area have resulted in the reconstruction of an earthen structure similar to the sconce Ralph Lane is known to have built in Puerto Rico in 1585 en route to Roanoke Island. (It also resembles the octagonal bastion built in Maine by Popham in 1607.) Although numerous items of interest have been discovered in a series of archaeological digs, the locations of the colonists' houses have not been ascertained. The most recent investigation, however, has established the site of a "science center" used by Joachim Ganz and others with the Lane colony to smelt copper and make metallurgical tests. Significant clues to the location of a wooden fort associated with both colonies have also come to light. Because the immediate area of the new finds has been subjected to only limited disturbance since the 16th century, the possibility of locating more parts of the settlements is real.

This section links to archaeological works described in the Bibliography of Books, Pamphlets and Articles on the Roanoke Colonies and to current information about archaeological and other investigations that may be found in the Management Documents leading from the home page of Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

Pertinent material may be found on the Roanoke Colonies Research Office website as well.

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Last updated: April 14, 2015

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