Following the conquest of the Aztecs in Mexico and the Inka in South America, Spain looked to “La Florida” for more land and riches. Hernando de Soto and his army traveled from Florida through North Carolina in 1540 on their way to the Mississippi River. In 1566, Juan Pardo left the Spanish town of St. Elena on the South Carolina coast and traveled into North Carolina in search of an overland route to Mexico. Scholars have debated the routes of Soto and Pardo for years but archaeological investigations at the Berry site (31BK22), north of Morganton in Burke County, provide evidence that both of these Spanish expeditions passed through the Catawba River valley.
The Berry site is a large (nearly 12 acres) Mississippian site that dates to the Burke phase (15th and 16th centuries A.D.) and is believed to represent an ancestral Catawba Indian town. The 2001 field school will concentrate on a one acre area where 16th century Spanish artifacts have been located. Ground penetrating radar and proton-magnetometer surveys have also revealed the presence of four or five probable burned structures in this same area. We believe these burned structures may represent the remains of the Spanish compound, Fort San Juan, built by Pardo in 1567. Field school activities will focus on locating and defining these buildings.
Dr. David Moore will lead the Summer 2001 archaeology field school at the Berry site. David conducted investigations at the Berry site in 1986, 1995, and 1997. He has directed numerous field schools since 1978 at the Warren Wilson site (31BN29) and other sites in western North Carolina. David received his Master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and served as the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology’s Western Office archaeologist for 18 years before becoming a full-time faculty member at Warren Wilson College.
This may be the opportunity you have always wanted to explore archaeology. You will learn how to identify stone tools and pottery, and your participation in the field school will help to reveal new evidence of the interactions between 16th century Native Americans and Spanish invaders in western North Carolina. No previous archaeological experience is necessary, but enrollment is limited. Enrollment is available for a non-credit participant fee of $300.00 per week and you may enroll for 1-4 weeks. Children aged 10-14 years may enroll if accompanied by an enrolled adult. Children 15 years of age and older may enroll on their own.
Working on an archaeology site is a unique experience. It is educational and exciting. However, we urge all participants to be aware that working conditions are variable. All work is outside (unless lab work is scheduled on rain days) and we recommend that participants wear appropriate work clothes. We also recommend hats to protect against sun exposure. Participants may bring lunches and snacks to the site (there is always water on site; you are welcome to bring any other non-alcoholic beverages). The work schedule is Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. All equipment and supplies are provided.
We are currently unable to provide housing for participants. If arrangements are worked out for group housing following your registration, we will immediately inform you of that possibility. However, there are numerous motels in the Morganton area as well as several campgrounds within a 30-minute drive of the site. We will be glad to assist you in finding suitable accommodations.
Field school enrollment is limited. To reserve a spot please return registration form along with a $25.00 non-returnable deposit for each week of enrollment. Registrations made after May 1, 2001, for any remaining spaces must be accompanied by full payment.
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