UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library to host lecture on North Carolina’s Fort San Juan archeological site



(Chapel Hill, N.C.— Oct. 13, 2015) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library will host archaeologist David Moore on Oct. 21 for a lecture on the excavation of Fort San Juan, the first European settlement in the interior of what is now the United States.

The event is sponsored by the North Carolina Collection and the Rare Book Collection and is presented in conjunction with the Institute for the Study of the Americas commemoration “One Hundred Years of Latin American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1915-2015.”

Fort San Juan was built at the site of the Native American town of Joara, near present-day Morganton, North Carolina. It was one of six sixteenth-century Spanish forts that pre-date English colonies in the area that is now North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee and may have been one of the largest Native American towns in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.

In January 1567, Spanish soldiers led by Juan Pardo reached the community as they marched toward Mexico from coastal South Carolina. The settlement they built ended violently eighteen months later, when the people of Joara burned and destroyed the fort.

Moore, a professor of anthropology and archaeology at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, is the senior archaeologist for the Exploring Joara Foundation and supervisor of the excavations at the Berry archaeological site, where Fort San Juan and Joara are being excavated. He has worked at the Berry site for more than 25 years, and is the author of “Catawba Valley Mississippians: Ceramics, Chronology, and Catawba Indians” (2002).

The free, public talk will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room. Beginning at 5 p.m., visitors may also view the Rare Book Collection exhibition “Chronicles of Empire: Spain in the Americas,” in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room.

For event information, contact Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, (919) 548-1203, liza_terll@unc.edu.

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