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Solving America's Oldest Mystery

Finding Croatoan follows Scott Dawson, a native of Hatteras Island, North Carolina searching for evidence to prove the whereabouts of the infamous "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island - America’s oldest mystery since 1587. Scott has been enamored with the local lore and historical significance of the Outer Banks since childhood. With no formal archeological training Scott has made it his life's mission to prove the colony went to Hatteras Island, known as Croatoan. Scott's efforts got the attention of Dr. Mark Horton from England's University of Bristol, who has been digging in the area since 2009. This is a true David vs Goliath story, following a ragtag group of locals who believe their history is being overlooked by a myth perpetuated for economic reasons.  Because they haven't published their findings yet, most people don't know about what CAS has accomplished. But soon, they are ready to share it with the world. 

This film explores heritage and culture in this unique corner of the world and the fragile ecosystem its residents both endure and care for. It also explores the clash of science, art, and commerce in an area that relies on tourism while trying to preserve an honest account of its history.

The Story


The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island

In 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh selected John White as governor for his ambitious goal of establishing an English presence in the New World. Spain was replenishing their war chest with riches from this wild untamed land and England had to keep pace.

What happened next was both unexpected and heartbreaking as the harsh landscape took its toll on these intrepid souls, dooming the colonists to an unknown fate and leaving John White broken and alone.

The History


Scott Dawson

Scott Dawson is an author, teacher, and the president and founder of the Croatoan Archaeological Society.  A native of Hatteras Island, Dawson grew up less than a mile from the Croatoan village site and has always been fascinated in the history of the Island. As a child he often sifted through construction sites to find native American pottery hundreds of years old. His family can trace their roots on Hatteras back to the 1600’s when a Dutchman named Thomas Mueller shipwrecked on the island, was rescued by the Croatoan Indians, and later married a Croatoan woman named Rea.


In 2002, Scott received a degree in psychology with a minor in history from the University of Tennessee. Currently, Scott teaches history, is a firefighter, and lives in Kill Devil Hills where with his wife and 2 daughters.

The Native


Dr. Mark Horton

Dr. Mark Horton is a specialist in the archaeology of historical societies around the world. Mark was educated at Cambridge University, and has a PhD (1984). He is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. His research focuses on historical archaeology, historical landscapes, maritime landscapes, long distance trade and social responses, early spread of Islam and Christianity, archaeology and the media. He works regularly with radio and television. He is one of the team of expert presenters for the BBC2 Coast programme and Inside Out (BBC1) .


His current projects include survey and excavation on Hatteras Island, North Carolina, the Sealinks project, the Songo Mnara Project (Tanzania), the Upper Kherlen Valley survey (Eastern Mongolia) and the Berkeley Castle Project (Gloucestershire, England).

The Professor
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