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Archaeologist Garth Norman interprets Mole Hill Petroglyphs in Marble Hill, Georgia

Archaeologist Garth Norman interprets Mole Hill Petroglyphs in Marble Hill, Georgia


On January 17, 2017 People of One Fire published a request for help in interpreting the Mole Hill Petroglyphic Boulder near Marble Hill, GA.  The stone is or was south of the Big Canoe Cairn Complex and due west of the Amicalola Terrace Complex at the headwaters of Long Swamp Creek, which is a major tributary of the Etowah River.  The petroglyphic boulder was first documented by archaeologist Robert Wauchope in 1939 . . . but his report was not published until 1966.   The style of these petroglyphs are quite different than most we see in the Georgia Gold Belt.  

A public call for help has worked before.  Five years ago the People of One Fire published an article on the Sweetwater Creek Stela.  Within a few days, anthropologists at the University of Puerto Rico contacted me and explained that it was a Maybouya or evil spirit, typical of indigenous art in Puerto Rico, Hispanola and Cuba . . . perhaps a territorial marker to warn trespassers.  They sent us photos of very similar maybouyas from the Toa Province around Arecibo, PR.  Did you say Toa?   That’s also the name of a province in Georgia that Hernando de Soto visited.   The rest is history.


Here is what archaeologist Garth Norman wrote to the People of One Fire last night:

Reading from left to right, two horizontal lines represent the two halves of the year. The vertical line is equinox. The slanting line to the right of equinox raises the bottom line up to the base of the lunar crescent. The new moon crescent has a path line back to the upper line. The lunation day tick count starts with the new moon day tic lying against the horizon line followed by 14 more day tics across the sky canopy to full moon shown by the trail below to the full circle full moon. Another vertical line, like the crescent new moon path line points to the sides of the circle above with a cross inside, probably representing the four quarter weeks of the month. Note the path line off the lower left of the circle pointing to the new moon start on the western horizon line. Accordingly, the calendar date recorded appears to be 15 days after new moon at spring equinox to full moon (April 6-7). This half month date may be fixed by the path line at the far right with a crescent moon on the lower end where a spiral makes two and a half turns to complete the three month moons from spring equinox to summer solstice.

This is the method I developed for reading calendar petroglyphs with these same signs at the Parowan Gap in the Southwest. The date in question is record at the Gap observatory (G. Norman, 2007) and ties to the Toltec calendar at Chichen Itza, Yucatan, where the Pyramid Quetzalcoatl serpent of light on the stairway. records this date.


Introduction to Garth Norman

This is not mentioned in his bio below, but Garth knew both Arthur Kelly and Robert Wauchope . . .  archaeologists who opened the doors for understanding the complex heritage of the Creek People. 


V. Garth Norman, ARCON, Inc. Archaeologist, Archaeo-Astronomer–Director, Principal Investigator

Norman has specialized in Epigraphy and Archaeoastronomy of Izapa and its monuments for over 50 years. Norman’s pioneering study of Izapa Sculpture for the New World Archaeological Foundation resulted in three publications (1, 2, 3 below), all definitive foundational works for ongoing Izapa research. His current Izapan studies are rewriting Formative Mesoamerican history and their influence through migrations to South and North America (4 below). Norman holds graduate degrees in Ancient Studies and in Archaeology-Anthropology from Brigham Young University. He is affiliated with many research organizations and has participated internationally with numerous professional symposiums, most frequently with the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). He has lectured widely, including at the National Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City on the “Origin of the Maya Calendar at Izapa” (August 17, 2012). Garth and his wife Cheryl are the parents of three married daughters, 18 grandchildren and one great grandson. Norman’s books are listed for sale on &

Izapa Sacred Space: Sculpture Calendar Codex (2015) Birthplace of the Maya sacred 260-Day Calendar.

Astronomical Orientations of Izapa Sculptures. 1980. Original sightings of Izapa Sculptures, Mounds and Monuments to the eastern horizon sun, moon, star and planet rises.

Izapa Sculpture (Published 1973, 1976) Leading authority in iconographic research of Izapan (early Maya) culture.

The Parowan Gap-Nature’s Perfect Observatory. 2007 where the Izapan 260-Day sacred calendar was defined in petroglyphs and with rock cairns.

Parowan Gap Archaeological Project, Preservation Enhancement (1993-2004). Major project with federal and private funding under contract with Parowan City and Iron County. Conducted archaeological preservation-enhancement study of the famous Parowan Gap petroglyph site. Emphasized archaeology and archaeo-astronomy investigations of petroglyphs and related sites.

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

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