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Archaeology and Remote Sensing at Santa Elena, SC . . . a landmark study

Archaeology and Remote Sensing at Santa Elena, SC . . . a landmark study


For the past four decades,  the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) has carried out a series archaeological investigations on Parris Island, SC that have set a standard for excellence.  The full and enthusiastic support of the United States Marine Corps has been a constant contributing factor to the overall success of these projects.  What has especially impressed Native American scholars in the Southeast about this project is the broad distribution of information gleaned from these studies that are readily made available to the general public.  Parris Island was occupied by indigenous Americans for at least 4,000 years prior to being the location of the first fort built in the Southeast by the French . . . Charlesfort . . . and then later, what was planned to be the capital of the Spanish province of La Florida . . .  Santa Elena.  The team of archaeologists and scientists from South Carolina and Georgia, who working on the remote sensing (aka ground radar) study have just released their fascinating report and the public has full access to it.  We urge People of One Fire readers to read this report so you will know what standard to expect for archaeological investigations in your community.   To access the report go to: 

The Archaeology and Remote Sensing at Santa Elena’s Four Millennia of Occupation


Charlesfort was constructed in 1562 by the first Jean Ribault Expedition. It was garrisoned by 28 men, who almost starved, before sailing back to France.



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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.

1 Comment


    Richard, Regarding the Triangular temple of North Georgia with a simple line cross on the stones and the Azores islands triangular temple: these people seem to be associated with an ancient goddess cult of “Tanit” who’s symbol is sometimes connected with a triangle. She was connected with Cyprus / Phoenician / Carthage / Berber peoples and most likely the ancient city of Tarshish. Her symbol sometimes was a (circle with a line) and a triangle). The circle and line symbol is clearly connected with a site in Peru: Caral and so are the first known step pyramids. (3000 BC)


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