Before the Lost Colony at Roanoke Island, before the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, there was Fort San Juan in the North Carolina foothills.
Archaeologists studying a ceremonial mound from a Native American town called Joara last month discovered the first inland fort built by Europeans in the New World, near present-day Morganton.
For nearly three decades, researchers worked at what’s known as the Berry archaeological site, certain it could reveal clues about the presence of one of six Spanish forts from the 16th century. But they lacked the evidence for any of the fortifications until now.
The discovery “solidifies our interpretation that we have found Joara and Fort San Juan,” said David Moore, an archaeologist at Warren Wilson College near Asheville and a co-director of the 27-year excavation project.
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