|The Last 500 Years
The Lost Colony and Jamestown Droughts
Stahle, David W., Cleaveland, Malcolm K., Blanton, Dennis B., Therrell, Matthew D., and Gay, David A.
Complete Scientific Reference
Some light has been shed on this mystery by a group of scientists who used the rings of baldcypress trees (Taxodium distichum) to reconstruct the history of drought for this region. A drought reconstruction, stretching back to 1185, indicates that the most severe growing season drought and the most severe three year period of drought in 800 years coincided with the disappearance of the Roanoke Island Colonists.
In addition, a reconstruction of the severe seven year drought (1606-1612) in Jamestown, accounted from documented historical records, likely played a part in the high death rate in the colony. Only 38 of the original 104 colonists survived the first year (1607) at Jamestown and of the 6000 people that came to the settlement between the years of 1608-1624, only 3400 survived. Most reportedly died of malnutrition.
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