Take part in one of the most exciting stories in American archaeology!

Structure 1

Discover Magazine called it one of the top 100 stories of 2013!

Reported by The New York Times, NPR, Huffington Post, National Science Foundation, and many other news agencies...

The discovery of Fort San Juan!

Moat 2014

In June, 2013 and 2014, field school participants helped to uncover the first direct evidence of Spanish Fort San Juan, a portion of the moat surrounding the fort. Students in the summer of 2014 uncovered most of the southern portion of the dry moat (above).  Fort San Juan was a Spanish fort built by Captain Juan Pardo, who led 125 soldiers from Santa Elena on the coast of South Carolina into North Carolina and Tennessee in search of an overland route to Mexico.  He built Fort San Juan at the Native American town of Joara in 1567, and the Native Americans burned the fort down eighteen months later, in 1568.

In the summer of 2017 we will uncover more of the fort, and hopefully answer some questions about what the inside of the fort looked like.


Register for the 2017 Field School

If you have any questions about the field school please contact David Moore at:

(828) 771-2013; email: dmoore@warren-wilson.edu. 

You may register for college credit or for non-credit participation.


If you are registering as a volunteer, not for college credit, fill out the registration forms below and return them with a $25 non-refundable deposit or full payment of $340 per week. Full payment must be received by May 5, 2017. Registrations made after May 5, 2017 for any remaining spaces must be accompanied by full payment. Volunteers may register for 1-4 weeks.

Credit for Non-Warren Wilson Students

If you are a non-Warren Wilson student who wishes to register for college credit, fill out the registration forms below and return them with a $25 non-refundable deposit or full payment of $719 per credit (1 credit per week).  Full payment must be received by May 5, 2017. Registrations made after May 5, 2017 for any remaining spaces must be accompanied by full payment. Students may register for up to 6 credit hours.  Each one-week (40 hour) field session equals 1 credit hour.  Contact David Moore for more information.

You can register online or print out the paper registration forms and mail/email them to David Moore.  The quickest way to register is to submit the online form and pay online, so there is no worry about your registration payment getting lost in the mail!

Online Registration    OR    Mail-In Registration Packet

Credit for Warren Wilson students

For Warren Wilson students seeking college credit, registration for the Archaeology Field School, ANT 340, is scheduled during the Spring Class Registration period. The course will be counted as a Term 5 Summer 2017 class, but class activities will take place Monday-Friday, June 5-June 30, 2017.


 Please read over the field school information below.

Archaeological Excavation of a Sixteenth Century Spanish Fort in Morganton, North Carolina

June 5-June 30, 2017

Participation open to the public

No Experience Necessary

Emma with Sherd

Field School Weeks

June 5-9

June 12-16

June 19-23

June 26-June 30


About the Berry Site

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. We believe this site to be the location of the native town of Joara, at which Pardo built Fort San Juan in 1567 (20 years before the English "Lost Colony" at Roanoke). The field school has concentrated on a small area of the site where 16th century Spanish artifacts, the remains of burned buildings, and the remains of a filled-in Spanish moat have been located. We believe these structures and moat represent the remains of the Spanish settlement of Cuenca and Fort San Juan.  Cuenca and Fort San Juan represent the earliest European settlement in the interior of what is now the United States.  Participants in the 2017 field school will continue to explore the new evidence for Fort San Juan.

You may view images from the 2001-2016 field schools at the Berry site at our web page: www.warren-wilson.edu/~arch/fieldschool

shoveling plow zone

Dr. David Moore will lead the Summer 2017 archaeology field school at the Berry site.  David Moore conducted investigations at the Berry site in 1986, 1995, 1997, and 2001-2016. He has directed numerous field schools since 1978 at the Warren Wilson site (31BN29) and other sites in western North Carolina. His book entitled, Catawba Valley Mississippian: Ceramics, Chronology, and Catawba Indians, has been published by the University of Alabama Press. David received his MA 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.

Registration Information

Pipe BowlThis is your opportunity to explore archaeology. You will learn how to identify stone tools, pottery, and other artifacts, 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 $340.00 per week and you may enroll for 1-4 weeks. Tuition for college credit is $719 per credit, earning 1 credit per week.  You may enroll for 1-6 credits.  Contact David Moore for more information about enrolling for credit. Children aged 14-15 years may enroll if accompanied by an enrolled adult. Children 16 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 activities take place 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. You will be bused from the Field House to the Berry Site daily. You can also transport yourself should you so choose as there is parking near the site. All equipment and supplies are provided. Portable toilets are provided on site.


David Moore and those students enrolled for academic credit will stay at the Wall Center for Archaeological Research in Morganton (about a 20 minute drive to the site) during the field school.  The Wall Center is the home of the Exploring Joara Foundation, a non-profit organization formed in 2007 to support the field school and to create a regional public archaeology program.  The Center is a newly converted 4600 square foot office building which now includes dormitory space for 23 students and staff, along with office and lab space.  There is a large kitchen and dining area and we will have a designated open room for hanging out.  There are two large dorm rooms for up to eight people and four smaller rooms for up to 4 people.  Bunk beds and mattresses will be available for everyone.  However, you will need to bring your own linens and towels.  All dorm rooms are gender specified.  You will be assigned a room by field school staff.  It is possible there will be room at the Wall Center for non-credit participants as well.   There is a weekly $70.00 housing fee.  This fee includes the cost of dinners Monday-Thursday.  Please contact David Moore if you wish to consider staying at the Wall Center.  If you need additional information about local accommodations, please contact David Moore.

Field school enrollment is limited. To reserve a spot please return the registration forms along with a $25.00 non-refundable deposit or full payment. Full payment must be received by May 5, 2017. Registrations made after May 5, 2017 for any remaining spaces must be accompanied by full payment. Please include names of each participant.



Warren Wilson College Scholarships:

Limited partial scholarship funding is available for all Warren Wilson College students with a 2.5 grade point average or above. To be eligible for scholarship funds, you must submit the Archaeology Scholarship Application Form to David Moore by April 21 and register for the field school during the April registration period. 


We will be glad to answer any questions you may have about the field school. Please contact David Moore at (828) 771-2013; email: dmoore@warren-wilson.edu.