Follow in the footsteps of Explorers and Patriots while enjoying some of North Carolina’s most scenic and challenging roads

Exploring Joara


What happened in the western North Carolina foothills during the 1500s shaped the course of American history, and altered the course of world history.

Nearly 20 years before the English landed on Roanoke Island, establishing the famous “Lost Colony,” the Spaniard Juan Pardo built a series of six forts from the coast of South Carolina into the mountains of east Tennessee. Less than two years later all six forts were destroyed along with Spanish dreams for the conquest of North America.

Today hundreds of students and volunteers work side-by-side with professional archaeologists along the Catawba and Yadkin river valleys to recover this forgotten past. At the Berry site near Morganton, North Carolina, archaeologists have unearthed the location of the Native American settlement of Joara where Pardo built Fort San Juan in 1567.

The Exploring Joara Foundation is committed to public archaeology and the study of Native American and Spanish settlements in the upper Catawba and Yadkin river valleys between 1450 and 1700.

Help the Exploring Joara Foundation Unearth the Forgotten Past.

Click here to Join Exploring Joara Foundation

Leave a Reply