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|Upper Catawba Archaeology | Western North Carolina | Field School 2003|
Fieldwork during June and July of this year will concentrate on areas north and south of the earthen mound at the Berry site (read more about the site). Fieldwork during recent years has identified the presence of at least four burned structures, and myriad pits and postholes, in an area covering some two acres north of the Berry mound, and several European artifacts have been found on the ground surface and in plow zone deposits near the burned structures (look at the site map). Our goals this year are to expose one entire structure, to excavate selected squares within another to assess the nature of floor deposits (to plan for excavating these structures in their entirety), to uncover contiguous areas within the arc formed by the four confirmed structures (to expose and excavate pits and postholes), and to conduct excavations south of the mound to learn more about what that part of the town looked like during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Our recent finds have convinced us that this site was the center of a native chiefdom as early as the 1400s and that it is the place where Spaniards built a fort and colonial outpost in the 1560s. The native people called their town "Joara." Members of the Spanish expedition that built Fort San Juan at this native town called their own settlement "Cuenca."