Breaking News from the Berry Site!
We want to pass along some very exciting news about our work at the Berry site this summer. While working along what we thought was the south edge of the mound (about 50 m south of the burned buildings), we actually found FortSan Juan itself. Since beginning our project in 2001, we've suggested that the burned buildings at Berry housed Juan Pardo’s soldiers stationed at the FortSan Juan, but we had never identified anything that we could refer to as a defensive feature.
What we've found this summer is about 20 m of a moat or ditch complex, including what will likely prove to be a corner bastion and a graveled entryway. The moat itself is v-shaped (see below) and measures 3.5 m wide and 1.8 m deep.
Pictured above: cross section of v-shaped trench
Pictured below: Dr. Sarah Sherwood working to identify the stratigrapy of the trench feature
Geophysical survey data from the area between the moat and the burned buildings suggests that more of the moat and a possible stronghouse within the fortifications are present under the ground surface. Even more, it seems that the people of Joara may have built the mound directly on top of this fort.
Dr. Chester DePratter, one of the principal investigators at Santa Elena, the point of origin of the Juan Pardo expeditions in coastal South Carolina, was out at the site the day we made the identification. He confirmed that what we have uncovered looks much like Fort San Felipe, the fort that Pardo and his men built at Santa Elena before coming into the interior.
We are very pleased to tell you that you can read about the discovery in tomorrow's New York Times (page D3). A version can also be found online at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/science/first-new-world-fort-was-spains.html?ref=science&_r=1&
This discovery opens an exciting new chapter in our research project, and we look forward to sharing more with you as we learn more about Fort San Juan. Over the next few months we will be developing plans for next summer and the next few years. Of course, we will need to identify additional funding sources to take on this new challenge.
As always we appreciate your support and interest and we’ll look forward to sharing our discoveries with you. We also hope to see many of you at our annual Berry Site Field Day in 2014 and at EJF events throughout the year. For example, watch for news about the Exploring Joara Foundation Annual Meeting, when David Moore will talk about this past summer’s excavations!
Stay tuned and best wishes,
Rob Beck (University of Michigan), David Moore (WarrenWilsonCollege), and Chris Rodning (TulaneUniversity)