Berry Site Field School at Fort San Juan

Location: 1629 Henderson Mill Rd, Morganton, NC 28655, USA

Season: June 3, 2024 to June 28, 2024

Session Dates: Week 1: June 3-7 Week 2: June 10-14 Week 3: June 17-21 Week 4: June 24-28

Application Deadline: May 27, 2024

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

Warren Wilson College; Exploring Joara Foundation

Project Director:
Dr. David Moore, Warren Wilson College; Dr. Christopher Rodning, Tulane University; Dr. Robin Beck, University of Michigan; Dr. Rachel Briggs, University of North Carolina

Project Description:

Excavation of Fort San Juan, 1567-1568, the First European Settlement in the Interior of the United States

Help discover evidence of Fort San Juan, one of the most important 16th-century colonial forts in the United States. Students gain hands-on experience in archaeological field techniques including excavation, wet and dry screening, record keeping, and mapping. Fort San Juan was built at the Native American town of Joara in January 1567 and destroyed 18 months later in May 1568. Over the past 20 years, archaeologists have identified the remains of Fort San Juan, five burned buildings constituting the Spanish town of Cuenca, the remnants of the late Mississippian period mound at Joara, and additional evidence of the Native town of Joara. What was life like for these Spanish soldiers living among Native Americans? What happened to the Spanish soldiers who lived there? How did the Native Americans react to this foreign presence? This summer we plan to tackle these questions by investigating the area around two burned Native American structures near Fort San Juan.

Period(s) of Occupation: Mississippian, Early contact

Are you a college student who needs to complete a field school for your academic major... or retired and always dreamed of working on an archaeological site? A high school student fascinated with the past? Have a full-time job but want to spend a special week in the summer to explore your secret passion? The Warren Wilson College Summer Archaeology Field School may be just the right experience for you! The Warren Wilson summer field school is designed to accommodate full or part-time college students as well as members of the public from across the country with our variable, weekly registration. Please see registration information and register online at

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 week

Minimum Age: 16

Experience Required: No experience required.

Room and Board Arrangements:
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. There is often room at the Wall Center for non-credit participants as well. 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 includes dormitory space for 25 students and staff, along with office and lab space. If you need additional information about local accommodations, please contact David Moore. Cost: $85 per week. This includes the cost of dinners Monday-Thursday. Proof of vaccination is required for housing.

Academic Credit:
Students may take the field school for up to 4 credits (1 credit per week) or as a non-credit participant. Transferable credits offered by Warren Wilson College. $819 per week (1 credit per week) for college credit. Non-credit participation is $450 per week.

Contact Information:

David Moore

Warren Wilson College




United States

Phone: 828-713-6348

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