By: Ben Anderson
Warren Wilson College archaeology professor David Moore and fellow archaeologists Robin Beck and Christopher Rodning have been selected to receive the Daughters of the American Revolution History Award Medal for their ongoing research at the Berry archaeological site near Morganton.
According to the DAR website, “any individual or group whose study… has significantly advanced the understanding of America’s past is eligible for this award.” The award will be formally presented April 10 at an awards luncheon in Winston-Salem.
The 12-acre Berry site along Upper Creek is the location of an ancestral Catawba Indian town named Joara, at which the Spanish captain Juan Pardo built Fort San Juan in 1567. The garrison was the earliest European settlement in the interior of what is now the United States, predating the “Lost Colony” by 20 years.
With the aid of the nonprofit Exploring Joara Foundation, Moore and colleagues are researching the long-forgotten episode of Fort San Juan’s founding and subsequent fiery destruction in the spring of 1568. Professors Beck, of the University of Oklahoma, and Rodning, of Tulane University, are working with Moore to help write this early story of European exploration and settlement in eastern North America. Warren Wilson and Western Piedmont Community College also lead a field school at the site each summer.