Secotan3 August 2007
Source: Admiranda narratio, fida tamen, de commodis et incolarvm ritibvs Virginiae . . . , Joyner Rare F229.B78 1590
Staff Person: Maury York
This engraving depicts the Native American village of Secotan, located somewhere along the Pamlico River, at the time of Walter Raleigh’s 1585-86 colonization effort. Two important members of this colony were scientist Thomas Harriot and John White, a talented artist. Before leaving the area for his return to England, White made sketches of Indians that he later rendered in handsome watercolor paintings. In 1588, Harriot published A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, which described portions of the coastal region of North Carolina and its inhabitants. Two years later, Theodor de Bry published this work along with a series of copperplate engravings based on the watercolors by John White. Editions appeared in English, French, German, and Latin. Recently Joyner Library, with the help of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, acquired a copy of the 1590 Latin edition of Harriot’s important text.
This image is particularly important because it reveals much about the agricultural practices of the Native Americans. Note the platform in the corn field used to scare away hungry birds!
Click on the image to see an enlarged version
The book, part of Joyner Library’s Rare Book Collection, is available for use in the Special Collections Department’s Search Room.