Brenau University is taking center stage tonight in a national television production about the Dare Stones, a series of tombstone-sized relics that have been in the learning institution’s possession for nearly eight decades.
When the History Channel airs its two-hour special dealing with one of America’s greatest and most perplexing mysteries tonight, the local campus will be prominently on display.
“Roanoke: Search for the Lost Colony” will air at 9 p.m.
Crews filmed there in July, focusing on the series of rocks chiseled with messages allegedly from the Lost Colony of Roanoke in North Carolina.
Georgia filmmaker Brandon McCormick said he has long held a fascination for the story of the lost colony and the Dare Stones. He developed, produced and directed the production, which is part documentary and part docu-drama.
A full-scale film crew encamped around the front lawn of Brenau’s historic campus to shoot certain sequences related to the university’s acquisition of the stones and the national publicity that set off a firestorm of controversy about the relics’ authenticity.
Dave Weller, a producer for the television special, said the film crew’s time in Gainesville “couldn’t have been a better experience.”
Barricades helped divert foot and car traffic from the area during production.
The saga of the Dare Stones began in 1937 in Depression-era Georgia. A California man walked into the history department of Emory University in Atlanta with a 21-pound chunk of quartzite that he said he unearthed while vacationing near the coast of North Carolina.
Detailed writing had been chiseled into both sides of the rock. Historians at the university initially concluded the writing to be Elizabethan-era English.
Brenau later acquired the first stone and dozens more of the rocks with similar carvings.