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Jul 24, 2013 10:09 AM by Stephen Bowers

Archaeologists discover Europe's oldest fort in U.S.

The remains of a fort discovered in the Appalachian Mountains is said to be the oldest European fort in the present-day United States. 

The report from ScienceDaily.com says the fort, called Fort San Juan, was built by Spanish Captain Juan Pardo and his men in 1567. That is about 20 years before Sir Walter Raleigh's "lost colony" at Roanoke. The settlement at Jamestown came about 40 years after the recently discovered fort is thought to have been built in the foothills of the Appalachians. 

ScienceDaily.com quotes Robin Beck, an archaeologist from the University of Michigan, who said the fort was occupied for only 18 months before it was destroyed by Native Americans. The Native Americans are said to have killed all but one of the Spanish soldiers who occupied Fort San Juan and another six forts from eastern Tennessee to the South Carolina Coast. Fort San Juan is the only one of those forts that has actually been discovered.

Excavation of the site at the fort began in late June. Spanish artifacts including iron nails and pottery.

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