Warren Wilson College News

Field Day at the Berry Archaeological Site features look at fort’s moat

On June 21, Warren Wilson College, Western Piedmont Community College and the Exploring Joara Foundation held the annual field day at the Berry Archaeological Site in Morganton, N.C.

Visitors saw a portion of the newly discovered moat, which was found during last summer’s excavations.

The Berry Site marks the remains of Fort San Juan, one of six fortifications built during Juan Pardo’s 1566 Spanish expedition into the inland of America. The fort was built on the native settlement of Joara, a Mississippian culture center believed to have been home to the ancestral Catawba. The 1566 expedition was decades before the establishment of Jamestown and the Lost Colony of Roanoke, making Fort San Juan the oldest known European settlement in the American interior.

Field day activities at the Berry Site included archaeology demonstrations, displays of Native American artifacts recovered from the site, hands-on learning activities and pottery demonstrations.

The Berry Site has been featured in Smithsonian, National Geographic, American Archaeology, Discover, The New York Times, and in the UNC-TV documentary The First, Lost Colony.

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