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Upper Catawba Archaeology | Western North Carolina | Field School 2004

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The Upper Catawba Archaeology Project
Western North Carolina


Welcome to the home page of the 2004 archaeological field school cosponsored by Warren Wilson College (Asheville, NC) and Western Piedmont Community College (Morganton, NC). Daily updates and photos from our 2002 and 2001 field seasons are still accessible on the web.

Our excavations at the Berry site along Upper Creek in 2003 involved uncovering the remnants of one whole burnt structure, identifying burnt timbers and floor deposits in one corner of another structure, exposing pits and postholes at the edge of the earthen mound that was once present at the site, and digging several large pits outside the edges of another burned structure. The preservation of burned architectural material in this area of some two acres at the north end of the Berry site is truly remarkable. Excavations in 2002 and 2003 have continued to yield more European artifacts from the site, including brass aglets and beads, wrought iron nails, and possible chain mail fragments. These artifacts are increasingly convincing evidence of the presence of a Spanish fort and a Spanish settlement at this native town. The burned structures that we have recently been excavating recently may be structures built by native people, in an aboriginal architectural style, to house Spaniards stationed at Fort San Juan from 1567 to 1568.

Our plans for fieldwork in 2004 include further excavations of one of the four burnt structures in the area north of the mound at the Berry site, further excavations in areas between and around these burnt structures, and geophysical survey of another nearby site that probably represents an aboriginal village contemporary with the native town at the Berry site.

Thanks for your interest in our study of native chiefdoms in western North Carolina and their early encounters with European explorers. Please check back here for updates about our archaeological fieldwork in the upper Catawba Valley and surrounding areas.

The daily updates are created by Rachel Briggs and Jesse Mitchell, both of whom are Warren Wilson College students. The web pages they will post every day include updates about what we have been finding in the field, photos of artifacts and our activities in the field, and descriptions of what life is like on our dig.


2004 Field School
2003 Field School
2002 Field School
2001 Field School
North Carolina Archaeology Homepage

29 June 2004 | David Moore | Warren Wilson College Archaeology | Field School 2004