Apparently there's an archaeological dig going on in my hometown of Morganton, North Carolina, excavating an old Spanish fort from the 16th century.
In the foothills of the Appalachians, I park in a cornfield just off an unmarked dirt road. A canvas canopy is the only structure visible in the quiet valley, where two dozen archaeologists and community college students are braving the July sun in loamy trenches. The team is uncovering the ruins of Fort San Juan, the oldest known European settlement in the interior of the United States.
The fort, five miles north of Morganton, North Carolina, was part of Spain's attempt in the 1560s to extend its domination of the Americas north into what is now the southeastern United States. Until now its location was only hypothesized.
-from the March 2006 issue of Smithsonian
Of course, I've only ever had one confirmed spotting of a Spaniard in Morganton.
Marga standing atop Table Rock in Morganton, North Carolina, in June 2003.
Here she is after her capture.
There have also been reports of recent Spanish influence in the area, marked by an increased consumption of both paella and Rioja wine. See exhibits A and B below.
Paul's first attempt at paella was spot on.
Paul enjoys a fine Rioja for happy hour.
There has also been increased chatter through communication circuits in the area that seems to foreshadow a coordinated invasion of Spain by a band of local Morgantonians later in October.