Fort San Juan update

The News Herald
Sunday, June 29, 2008

Public Invited to See 500-year-old Artifacts

MORGANTON - People gathered around a woman and shouts of "hey, hey,
hey" went up at the Berry archeological site on Thursday. David
Moore, lead archeologist at the site, was standing about 75 yards
away. When he heard the shouts, he made his way over to the group.

What got the crowd excited was a find by Jeane Jones, of Dalton,
Ga., of a tiny blue Spanish glass bead believed left behind from the
first European settlement in the interior of what is now the United

It was the second glass bead found last week. One man found a piece
of metal believed to be from the same era.

On July 12, the public will get a chance to take a look at the glass
beads and other artifacts found at the site, as well as observe
archaeologists at work. Archaeologists will be on hand to discuss
the site and lead tours. Primitive skills experts also will
demonstrate how native people crafted their weapons and tools.

Warren Wilson College and Western Piedmont Community College
Archaeology Field School is sponsoring the open house.

The site will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July
12. Admission is free.

Archaeologists believe the Berry site to be the location of the
native town of Joara, at which the Spaniard Juan Pardo built Fort
San Juan
in 1567, 20 years before the "Lost Colony," according to information from field school.

The site is also believed to represent an ancestral Catawba Indian

The archaeology field school has concentrated on a one-acre area
where 16th century Spanish artifacts and the remains of five burned
buildings have been located. Archaeologists believe these burned
structures may represent the remains of the Spanish compound, Fort
San Juan.

For Jones, working at the Berry site and finding an artifact was
thrilling. She and her husband, Walter, signed up to work for a week
on the site. The couple has a summer home at Montreat in Black
Mountain and kept hearing about the dig. She was screening dirt from
an area where a compound structure once stood when she found the

Moore said the Spanish used beads to trade with the natives. But
Juan Pardo's group wasn't on a trade mission. They were on a work
mission, Moore said.

The mission, Moore said, was to go from the east coast of the U.S.
to Mexico, pacifying natives along the route, in order to build a
road so silver could be transported from Mexico.

The fort in what is now Burke County was sacked and its buildings
burned after relations between the Spaniards and natives soured,
according to information from the school.

The site is located on Henderson Mill Road. To get there from
downtown Morganton, take Green Street, which turns into N.C. 181.
From the Kmart plaza, continue north on N.C. 181 4.1 miles to
Goodman Lake Road on the right. Take Goodman Lake Road to the end
(1.6 miles) and turn right on Henderson Mill Road. Follow Henderson
Mill Road 1.9 miles to the Berry site. Turn right and follow parking

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