The annual Field School at the Berry Archaeological Site will begin June 2nd, continuing on with work from last year. Last summer, students and faculty targeted two areas of the Berry site for investigation. The first was an open plaza where earlier excavations revealed interesting features and postholes, but lack of time prevented further exploration. Students excavated one large feature and a number of postholes in this plaza area, documenting a previously unrecognized pattern of relatively large, deep postholes. The pattern of these postholes is unlike any previously recorded.
Students Claire Woerner and Shaun Lynch excavating deep postholes
Students also excavated the southeastern edge of the mound, trying to determine its original placement. The faculty plans to continue excavations this year to better define the exact edges of the mound.
Edge of the mound fill.
Last year, students discovered two unique carved steatite (soapstone) artifacts. One was the head of a mammal figurine, and the other was the headless body of what might be a deer. Unfortunately, the head and body don’t match, but both are highly unusual artifacts. The style and manner of carving on the deer suggest that it might have been carved by one of Pardo’s Spanish soldiers rather than a native Joaran.
More research may help archaeologists determine if this is the case. If so, this would be a rare find. Exploring Joara hopes you can visit or volunteer at the Berry site in 2013 and see what we uncover this year. Please contact us for additional information.