If you’d like to ask us a question that isn’t listed on our FAQ page, or would like more information on our many public archaeology programs, please contact:

Exploring Joara Foundation
PO Box 296
Morganton, NC 28680
(828) 439-2463

EJF Executive Director Marie Palacios

EJF Executive Director Marie Palacios

Marie C. Palacios
Executive Director of the Exploring Joara Foundation, Inc

(828) 764-7461

Marie Palacios, originally a native of Morganton, NC joined the EJF team as the new Executive Director on September 2, 2014. She was formerly the Executive Director of Catawba County Hispanic Ministry, better known as Centro Latino of Hickory. She began her non-profit experience as a volunteer with Centro Latino in 2002 while completing her undergraduate degree at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Spanish and Comparative Literature (Modern and Foreign Language/with an emphasis in French). While still a volunteer, Marie developed an after-school program at Centro Latino for at-risk Latino youth grades K-12th and served as the Program Director until transitioning into the role of Executive Director which she filled from 2008-2014. For the past 12 years, Marie has dedicated her time and energy to education and advocacy within diverse sectors of the community. In addition to facilitating a variety of diversity trainings for local government, community organizations, and faith groups, Marie serves as an advisory member on committees addressing social justice issues at both the state and national level and has been the recipient of several community awards including: the Lenoir Rhyne University Community Service Award (2011), Maiden Rosenwald CDC “Dream Keeper Award” (2011), and the Hickory Ministerial Alliance “Spirit of the King” award (2013). She is a trained Spanish/English interpreter and the founder of “Spanish for Professionals,” an interactive Spanish course that gets professionals out of the classroom and into the community for a cultural and language experience.


David Moore, PhD                                               Executive Archaeologist of Exploring Joara Foundation, Inc.                                                   Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Warren Wilson College

Dr. David Moore is the foundation’s Executive Archaeologist.  He has worked at the Berry site for 25 years and currently directs the summer field school. He has directed major excavations at numerous sites in North Carolina including Hardaway, Warren Wilson, and Berry. His work in the upper Catawba Valley began in 1986 with excavations at the Berry site as part of his dissertation research. He is a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Warren  Wilson College.


Melissa Timo
Staff Archaeologist of the Exploring Joara Foundation, Inc

(828) 764-1147

Melissa Timo became the Staff Archaeologist for Exploring Joara in October 2015. A native of Western Pennsylvania, Melissa has been doing public archaeology and historical interpretation for the last 9 years and archaeology for the last 15. Most recently she worked as a Public Archaeology Coordinator for the Southwest Region of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. Melissa recieved her Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology and Archaeology from Mercyhurst College in 2004 and her Master of Arts in Historical and Public Archaeology from the University of West Florida in 2013. She has had the good fortune to live all over the eastern half of the US and experience the fields of archaeology and history in a wide variety of ways: working for historical societies and National Parks, doing cultural resource management field and lab work, teaching field schools at the University of West Florida, uncovering new data in  institutional archaeology labs, and giving interpretive tours of Great Camp Sagamore (a Guilded Age Vanderbilt summer home). Her favorite moments have always been the ones in which she could relate the wonderful work of archaeology to the kids, community members, and descendant groups.  In addition to public archaeology, Melissa’s specialties include: historic cemeteries, historical archaeology, African American archaeology, and the archaeology of frontier communities. Contact her today to schedule a program, lecture, or archaeology chat!