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500-Year old Indian Village Unearthed in North Carolina

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The Charlotte Observerreported on an American Indian village unearthed in Morganton, North Carolina, in Catawba Meadows Park. Archaeologists have been pulling artifacts from the ground in Burke County for some time now. The Observer spoke to Emma Richardson, who has been part of the team researching the village.

Richardson told the Observer that village hugged the banks of the Catawba River in present-day Morganton, and was likely circled by a wooden palisade, with village structures rising in a meadow where gardens flourished thank sto the rich river-bottom soil.

"Richardson also imagines a day in the 16th-century when villagers may have looked up from their toil and seen Spanish explorers arrive," Observer reporter Joe DePriest writes. "The story of this clash of cultures will be told in a major living history project going up on the actual site of the village, now occupied by Morganton’s Catawba Meadows Park."

Eventually there will be a Catawba Meadows Archaeology Interpretive Center that will focus on the American Indians and Spanish explorers who lived in the Catawba Valley long before the English arrived on Roanoke Island on the coast of North Carolina. The center's exhibit will also showcase artifacts found some ten miles away in the remains of another Indian village, this one called Joara, as well as artifacts from a fort built by Spanish explorer Juan Pardo in 1567. Scientists maintain that the fort was the first European settlement in the interior of the United States. Archaeologists have turned up thousands of pieces of history from the fort, including spike-like nails, lead balls for a harquebus, a type of gun. National attention in the form of National Geographic, Smithsonian and Archaeology magazines have been interested in the site.

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