“An insightful analysis of the excavations of the most exciting Spanish colonial site to be found in recent years.”—Marvin T. Smith, author of Coosa: The Rise and Fall of a Southeastern Mississippian Chiefdom


“A rich chronicle of the rise and fall of Spanish imperial ambitions in the North American interior.”—Charles R. Ewen, coauthor of Hernando de Soto Among the Apalachee


Fort San Juan and the Limits of Empire: Colonialism and Household Practice at the Berry Site edited by Robin A. Beck, Christopher B. Rodning, and David G. Moore offers critical insight into the nature of early colonial interactions.


Established in 1566 by Spanish conquistador Juan Pardo, Fort San Juan is the earliest known European settlement in the interior United States. Located at the Berry site in western North Carolina, the fort and its associated domestic compound stood near the Native American town of Joara, whose residents sacked the fort and burned the compound after only eighteen months.

Drawing on archaeological evidence of architecture, food, and material culture, as well as newly discovered accounts of Pardo’s expeditions, the contributors to this volume explore this borderland location at the northern frontier of Spain’s long reach.  They piece together the fragments of the colonial encounter between Pardo’s thirty soldiers and the people of Joara to chronicle the deterioration in Native American–Spanish relations that sparked Joara’s revolt.

Robin A. Beck, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, is the author of Chiefdoms, Collapse, and Coalescence in the Early American South. Christopher B. Rodning, associate professor of anthropology at Tulane University, is author of Center Places and Cherokee Towns: Archaeological Perspectives on Native American Architecture and Landscape in the Southern Appalachians. David G. Moore, professor of anthropology at Warren Wilson College, is the author of Catawba Valley Mississippian.

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