Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in North Carolina preserves the remains of Roanoke, the first English settlement in North America. Settled in 1587, the colonists all disappeared before the next supply ship arrived in 1590 and their fate remains a mystery to this day. The island was occupied in 1862 by the Union army and a self-sustaining freedmen’s colony for slave refugees was set up. By 1864 the population grew to 2,200 residents. Today, park visitors can watch Paul Green’s outdoor symphonic drama The Lost Colony.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Roanoke Island was featured on the first episode of Time Team America, a PBS show that featured archaeologists given three days to make sense of an archaeological site. View the episode here.
Park website: www.nps.gov/fora/
Located on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Keweenaw National Historical Park tells the story of copper mining in North America, beginning around 7,000 years ago when Native Americans began the earliest known metalworking on the continent. Visitors can explore mines and mining communities dating to the region’s nineteenth century copper rush, learn about the different cultures that lived there, and find out more about the history of mining technology. The last mine on the Keweenaw Peninsula closed in 1997 after more than 60 years of declining production and today the National Park Service, along with community partners, is challenged with preserving and presenting the region’s rich industrial history while nature increasingly reclaims the area.
Archaeological Fun Fact: As early as 5,000 BC, native peoples mined copper here to make jewelry, tools, fishhooks, and more. Prehistoric trade goods made of Keweenaw copper have been found at archeological sites across North America.
Park website: www.nps.gov/kewe/