Archaeologist David Moore to Speak at WPCC


Excavating-Joara-and-Fort-San-Juan-at-the-Berry-site-in-Burke-County_webWestern Piedmont Community College will host a presentation entitled “Exploring the Spanish Colonial Trail from St. Augustine, Florida, to Fort San Juan, Morganton, North Carolina” by archaeologist Dr. David Moore on Wednesday, April 6 at 10:00 am in Leviton auditorium. This event is free and open to the public with a reception will follow.

Dr. Moore will describe archaeological excavations at the Berry site in Burke County where archaeologists have uncovered the remains of the Native American town of Joara and Fort San Juan, built by the Spanish in 1567. Fort San Juan predates Jamestown by 40 years and is considered the oldest European settlement in the interior of the United States. Dr. Moore will discuss recent developments at the site including the 2013 discovery of San Juan’s palisades and clear evidence of a classic European fort, complete with a moat.

The exciting discoveries at the Berry site have been featured in several magazines including National Geographic, Smithsonian and Archaeology as well as newspapers such as the New York Times. The story of the site has also been the subject of the UNC TV documentary “The First, Lost Colony.”

This is the 450th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish expedition into western North Carolina from Santa Elena on the coast of South Carolina. Dr. Moore will discuss commemorative events across the southeast including many in Burke County. Events will include hands-on archeological activities, celebrations of the Native American culture of Western North Carolina, demonstrations of 16th- century Native and European life, presentations and more.

Dr. Moore is the Executive Archaeologist for the Exploring Joara Foundation.  He has worked at the Berry site for 25 years and currently directs the summer field school. He has directed major excavations at numerous sites in North Carolina including Hardaway, Warren Wilson, and Berry. His work in the upper Catawba Valley began in 1986 with excavations at the Berry site as part of his dissertation research. He is a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Warren Wilson College.

This summer, Dr. Moore and the Warren Wilson/Western Piedmont Community College Archaeology Field School will continue the study of the Berry site. College students may participate in the field school by enrolling in HUM 120 61 at Western Piedmont. Early registration for summer classes is Monday, April 11 to Friday, April 22 and regular summer registration will be Wednesday, May 25 and Thursday, May 26.

Teachers and others in the community who would like to participate may do so by enrolling through the College’s Continuing Education department for Section # 48243 Archaeological Field School. Participating teachers will receive 4.8 CEUs.

The field school will meet Monday, June 13 through Friday, July 1, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. An orientation will be held Thursday, June 9 from 7:00 to 9:50 pm. For further information about registering for the field school, contact Mark Pellatt (HUM 120) at (828) 448-3543, or Eddie McGimsey (Continuing Education) at (828) 448-6719,

WPCC complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will make every effort to honor reasonable requests made by individuals with qualifying disabilities. Accommodations must be requested three business days in advance of school events or activities through the office of disability services in room 126 Hildebrand Hall or call 828-448-3154.