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The Berry Site (North Carolina, USA)

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When: June 2 - July 11, 2003

Who: Warrent Wilson College

Site Description: 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. The 2003 field school will concentrate on a one-acre area where 16th century Spanish artifacts have been located and where our previous field schools have revealed the presence of four burned structures. We believe these burned structures may represent the remains of the Spanish compound, Fort San Juan, built by Pardo in 1567.

You may view images from the 2001 and 2002 field schools at the Berry site at our web page: http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~arch.

Field Directors: David Moore, Christopher Rodning, and Robin Beck will lead the Summer 2003 archaeology field school at the Berry site. David Moore conducted investigations at the Berry site in 1986, 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2002. 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 recently 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.

Chris Rodning is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation involves a comprehensive analysis of the Coweeta Creek site, a Cherokee mound site in Macon County, North Carolina. Chris also worked at the Berry site in 2001 and 2002. He recently co-edited (with Jane Eastman) the volume entitled, Archaeological Studies of Gender in the Southeastern United States (University of Florida Press, 2001).

Rob Beck is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University. His dissertation deals with his excavations at a site on the south shore of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Rob is also an expert on the routes of Hernando De Soto and Juan Pardo through the Carolinas. He worked at the Berry site in 1995, 1997 and 2002.

Registration: This may be the opportunity you have always wanted to explore archaeology. You will learn how to identify stone tools and pottery, 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 $300.00 per week and you may enroll for 1-4 weeks. Children aged 12-14 years may enroll if accompanied by an enrolled adult. Children 15 years of age and older may enroll on their own.

Field school enrollment is limited. To reserve a spot please return registration form along with a $25.00 non-returnable deposit for each week of enrollment. Full payment must be received by May 1, 2002. Registrations made after May 1, 2002, for any remaining spaces must be accompanied by full payment. Please include names of each participant.

Details: 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 work is 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. All equipment and supplies are provided.

We are currently unable to provide housing for participants. If arrangements are worked out for group housing following your registration, we will immediately inform you of that possibility. However, there are numerous motels in the Morganton area as well as several campgrounds within a 30-minute drive of the site. We will be glad to assist you in finding suitable accommodations.

Contact: 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. You may also wish to visit our web site at http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~arch/ where you may read more about the Berry site and view images from previous field schools . You may also view images from previous field schools at the Warren Wilson site (1999 and 2000).

Elsewhere on the Web:

Warren Wilson College Archaeology
Home page of the excavations; site contains information concerning the last two fields seasons.

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