The Exploring Joara Foundation is partnering with Durham Academy Summer to deliver the most unique summer camp experiences offered to budding young archaeologists.

Kids dig in with archaeologists and get their hands dirty!

Summer Campers

Camp StaffDr. Theresa Shebalin

Dr. Theresa McReynolds Shebalin directs the Archaeology Adventure Institute summer camps.  She is a middle school science teacher in Durham, North Carolina.  Dr. Shebalin has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina. Additional camp staff includes archaeologists affiliated with the Exploring Joara Foundation. The camper to staff ratio is approximately 5:1.  


5-Day Overnight Camps

Ages 8-11: July 21-26
Ages 11-14, July 7-12
Ages 14-18: July 14-19

Elementary and middle-school campers work with professional archaeologists to uncover the buried remains of the 16th-century Native American village of Joara and the Spanish Fort San Juan, established in 1567 and destroyed by native peoples in 1568. They also explore the ancient history of North Carolina’s native cultures through hands-on activities, excavation, artifact analysis, experiments, and more.

All overnight campers stay in our air-conditioned field house with bunk beds and bathrooms. Most meals are prepared on the premises; dietary restrictions can typically be accommodated.

High-school campers work alongside professional archaeologists to explore the mysteries of the Berry site and the ill-fated Spanish colony that persisted there for 18 months. Towards the end of the week, archaeologists from Western Carolina University will lead campers on a 2-day excursion to Cherokee, NC and other nearby archaeological attractions.

During the Cherokee trip, campers stay in a hotel and eat at restaurants (all costs of the trip are included in the camp fee).

Airport Service

We can provide transportation to/from Raleigh-Durham International Airport for campers traveling from out of state. Before booking flights, please contact the Camp Director to ensure that our staff can accommodate the proposed itinerary. 

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is offered through Durham Academy Summer. A deposit is required to reserve a spot but will be refunded if financial aid is not granted or is insufficient. The form will close April 1, 2024.

Link to Financial Aid:

Link coming soon.

Questions and Inquiries

Durham Academy Summer:

Summer Office: 919-489-3400 ext. 6114

Summer Cell: 919-357-2433

Always feel free to email with any questions!

To enroll in one of our camps, please navigate to the Durham Academy Summer registration page by clicking the link below. Once you create your user account you can register for camp experiences based on your age. Please scroll to “Archaeology Overnight Institute”.

AAI Registration Link


The Berry Site

To learn more about the significance of the Berry site and the archaeological work being done, Click here

Also read about us in Our State Magazine:

A City, Beneath