At the time of first contact with Europeans, the Algonkians of coastal North Carolina had distinctive burial practices. Ossuaries, or mass graves containing large numbers of individuals, have been excavated on Hatteras Island and at other coastal locations. Prior to burial, the dead were stored in pole and mat structures called charnel houses. To date, no ossuaries or charnel houses have been discovered on Ocracoke Island.
John White, artist and mapmaker, who in 1585 sailed with Richard Grenville to present-day North Carolina in an attempt to establish a military colony on Roanoke Island, made this watercolor in 1585/1586.
The text above the drawing reads, "The Tombe of their Cherounes or cheife
flesh clene taken of from the bones saue
| the skynn and heare of theire heads, wch
flesh is dried and enfolded in matts laide at theire | feete. their bones also being
made dry, ar couered wth deare skynns not altering | their forme or proportion. With theire
Kywash, which is an | Image of woode keeping the deade. "
Our current Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1938 article about Capt. Gary
Bragg, waterfowl hunting, and wooden decoy carving. You can read it