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Ray is a retired home builder from Durham who got his start as a member of the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research, a group comprised mostly of amateurs pursuing a variety of theories: that the colony left Roanoke Island for the southern Outer Banks, or North Carolinas interior, or Virginia via the swamp.Though The Lost Colony Center has consulted with academics and experts, other observers dismiss their work, which is published primarily on a blog instead of a peer-reviewed academic journal.They studied satellite images until they found something that looked like a boat, then set out to find it. Were looking for history. But the search for the Lost Colony has confounded experts and enthusiasts alike.Eric Klingelhofer, a Mercer University professor, is an archaeologist with a doctorate from Johns Hopkins.After trudging for two hours through thick vegetation to a blurry mark found on Google Earth, George Ray started making up a song: If youre lost, Ill find you tomorrow, he sang in a thick Southern drawl. Ray is one of the many amateur archaeologists entranced by the Lost Colony the 117 English settlers who disappeared from North Carolinas Outer Banks in the late 1500s, having left behind only a single clue to their fate.
Instead, they hitched a ride back home with Sir Francis Drake, who was passing through after raiding Spanish ports in the Caribbean.Others have suggested the colonists moved farther inland and joined with other American Indians.Some suspect the natives simply killed the foreigners, or that the colonists died off from illness, malnutrition or in flight back to England.When the men with relief supplies arrived to find the colony abandoned, they left a detachment of about 15 and sailed themselves for England.Undeterred by the chaos, Sir Walter Raleigh sent John White and a new group of settlers one year later to pick up the so-called holding colony and to found a new settlement in what is now Virginia.
He helped uncover the English colony at Jamestown, Va., and is working with the National Park Service to conduct digs on Roanoke Island.