School kids at the Berry site

South Caldwell Public Schools conquer the Berry site!

About Exploring Joara Foundation

Imagine that the site of the Lost Colony of Roanoke or even Jamestown were discovered in your backyard….

Wouldn’t you want to get involved and learn everything you could about the people who walked on your land close to 500 years ago?

Would you want to get your hands in the dirt and touch artifacts that once belonged to a native family or a Spanish soldier?

Now you can!

In 2013, after 27 years of excavations, archaeologists discovered the Spanish Fort San Juan (1567), the first inland European settlement in the United States, at the site of the native town of Joara.

Our organization was founded in 2008 to engage the community in archaeological efforts to uncover Burke County’s forgotten past. Our name pays homage to the native village of Joara that was once a rich center of Mississippian-period life.

The Berry Site, named after the family who has so generously allowed excavations and research to happen on their property for the last three decades, attracts history enthusiasts from across the world. EJF is honored to partner with the research team, the Berry family, and many community partners who believe that the encounter between Juan Pardo and the natives of Joara forever changed the trajectory of our nation’s history.

EJF exists for this very reason. We are dedicated to engaging children and adults alike in archaeology and cultural heritage-based programs in North Carolina.

Mission Statement

The Exploring Joara Foundation, Inc. educates and engages the public through hands-on archaeology and history programs, events, and opportunities to discover our diverse cultural and historical past with a focus on Native American and early colonial history. Exploring Joara is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Click here to join.

Exploring Joara Foundation
PO Box 296
Morganton, NC 28680