In 1937, a man walked into the history department at Emory University with a stone in his hand that had a mysterious inscription, which he had supposedly found while driving through the woods of North Carolina. Upon examining this stone, some scholars became convinced that it had a message from members of the lost Roanoke colony. The Dare Stone, as it came to be called, would both put a small, unrelated university in Gainesville, Georgia on the map, and damage its reputation as an institution that fell for what may have been one of the greatest hoaxes of the modern era… unless, of course, it was not a hoax.
What is the Dare Stone?
It should be noted that there is technically more than one Dare stone since similar stones were also ‘discovered’ after the initial find. The other stones, however, are generally considered to be fakes, so for the purpose of this article, only the first stone will be referred to as “the Dare Stone” since it is the only one considered to possibly be authentic by scholars. The artifact is a quartz-rich stone that has a mysterious inscription on it. The inscription appears to be a 16th century English message from a woman named Eleanor White Dare recounting what happened to the Roanoke colonists. The message on the stone claims that most of the colonists died from illness and war with hostile Native American factions. It specifically mentions the death of her husband and their new-born daughter, Virginia.
Front and back of the original Dare Stone. (Brenau University )
Background of the Roanoke Colony
In 1587, a colony was established on an island off the coast of North Carolina called Roanoke Island. This was the first known English speaking settlement in the Americas. The
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