The Melungeons blog

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Spanish nail found at the site believed to have been the location of Joara and Fort San Juan. Image courtesy of Warren Wilson Archaeology.
During the late-sixteenth century, Joara was the most dominant, and possibly the largest, town in what is now modern-day Piedmont and western North Carolina. Located in Burke County, twelve miles north of Morganton, on Upper Creek, Joara was, according to historians, “the northeastern edge of the Mississippian cultural world.” It served as a center of trade and a hub for travelers. Its economic and political prominence and its location near navigable routes, major trails, and good farmland prompted Spanish explorer Juan Pardo to construct Fort San Juan near the Indian town.