From David Moore, Rob Beck, and Chris Rodning…
Sadly, Charles Hudson, eminent anthropologist and ethnohistorian whose scholarship and teaching has shaped the way archaeologists and historians study the Native American Southeast and the period during and after Spanish entradas in La Florida, passed away on Sunday, 6/8/2013, at his home in Frankfort, Kentucky, at 80 years old. Author of *The Juan Pardo Expeditions: Exploration of the Carolinas and Tennessee, 1566-1568* (University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 2005), and *Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South’s Ancient Chiefdoms* (University of Georgia Press, Athens, 1997), Dr. Hudson has contributed a great deal to the study of the Native American chiefdom of Joara and neighboring groups, including the chiefdoms of Coosa and Cofitachequi.
His scholarship and teaching are significant cornerstones to ongoing archaeological investigations of the Berry site, in Burke County, and other archaeological sites in surrounding areas. Dr. Hudson earned his Ph.D. in anthropology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1965, and he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of UNC at University Day in Chapel Hill in 2004. He taught a great many students during his long and prolific career as a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Georgia, where he was Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History Emeritus. He is best known for his contributions to the social history of Native American societies in the Southeast from the period just before European contact through the eighteenth century, and he reconstructed the routes of the Hernando de Soto and Juan Pardo entradas in the Southeast to better understand the changing social geography of the Native American and colonial South. These and related scholarly efforts led him to grapple with historic, cartographic, linguistic, ethnographic, and archaeological evidence. Dr. Hudson has taken an avid interest in archaeological research in the upper Catawba Valley and surrounding areas of western North Carolina, including David Moore’s work in the 1980s, Rob Beck’s work in the 1990s, and our collaborative project since 2001. He is an inspiration, and he will be greatly missed. Although Dr. Hudson ardently advocated rigorous attention to empirical detail as the basis for drawing conclusions about broader patterns in the past, the interpretive framework that he took towards the study of culture change in the American South was theoretically sophisticated in its approach to social history at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
Our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and students, and we count ourselves lucky to have known him, and to be involved in a field of study that has his enduring imprint.
All of you who have participated in the life of the Exploring Joara Foundation, and in activities at the Berry site and at Catawba Meadows have contributed to the advancement and appreciation of knowledge in fields in which Dr. Hudson is a pioneer.
-Dave, Rob, and Chris
The Burning of Fort San Juan
“It is a story of great scholarship, archaeology at its
best, hot dirty physical work and luck.”
- Producer, Tom Earnhardt, Exploring North Carolina Series, UNC-TV, in “The First, Lost Colony”