Exploring Joara Foundation

Dear friends,

We would like to take this opportunity to introduce the Exploring Joara Foundation whose mission is to provide continued support for the archaeological research in the upper Catawba and Yadkin River valleys. This IRS certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization will sponsor public involvement in Foothills archaeology through education programs, archeological surveys, and excavations of Native American and Early European settlements. Its primary interest is the investigation of sixteenth-century interactions between European colonists and Native Americans in western North Carolina. The Foundation takes its name from Joara, the major Native American town in the upper Catawba Valley visited by sixteenth-century Spanish expeditions led by Hernando de Soto and Juan Pardo. Our archaeological work suggests that Joara is located at the Berry site, located north of Morganton, N.C.

Since beginning our Catawba Valley archaeology project in 2001, focused on the renewal of excavations at the Berry site, we have been blessed with overwhelming support from Warren Wilson College, Western Piedmont Community College, the City of Morganton, Burke County, the Berry family, and many other organizations and individuals. We would like to thank all of those who have participated in the field school and visited the Berry site; who have supported us with donations, dinners, and volunteer time; and who have otherwise cheered us on. The support that we have received from so many sources is a key to the project’s success, and in our next newsletter, we’ll acknowledge some of these generous supporters.

It has also become clear to us that we face some difficult decisions in the next few years. The quickening pace of development in the western Piedmont region threatens many of the archaeological sites that can tell the story of sixteenth-century Native Americans and Spaniards. We have wondered and worried about how we can manage to conduct the archaeological investigations that are necessary with the limited resources available to us. Although we have been successful at raising money for our yearly field schools, we know that we must do more – quickly – because many of the most important sites may be gone in the next 10-15 years due to development.

Over the past few years we discussed this situation with many people who support this project. From these discussions emerged the Exploring Joara Foundation. In the next issue of the newsletter we will bring more details to you regarding the Foundation and our ambitious plans to raise the money necessary to carry out the important work before our history is lost forever. We are grateful for the past support you have provided to this project, and we hope you will join us in this exciting and important new venture.


With sincere thanks,

Dr. David Moore, Dr. Robin Beck, and Dr. Christopher Rodning

Directors, Exploring Joara Archaeological Project


You can join the Exploring Joara Foundation

PDF iconClick here to download the Charter Membership Invitation in PDF format.

PDF icon Click Here to download the Charter Member Invitation Brochure in PDF format.


Print and fill out the form, and send it in to:

Exploring Joara Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 9000
Asheville, NC, 28815.


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