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Bombshell! Archaeologist Arthur Kelly identified an “advanced race” of 7 feet tall Natives in the Okefenokee Swamp . . . 50 years ago!

Bombshell!  Archaeologist Arthur Kelly identified an “advanced race” of 7 feet tall Natives in the Okefenokee Swamp . . . 50 years ago!

 

Being published later today in POOF is the fourth article in our Southeast Georgia series.  It will blow your mind.   In 1973,  Mary Jewett, Director of the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office, sent letters to the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Bureau, requesting that several mounds in the Okefenokee Swamp be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Actually, an archaeological survey carried out about five years earlier by the famous archaeologist, Arthur Kelly, had identified about 76 mounds and town sites.  However, these particular mounds contained evidence of (and we quote) “an advanced race of seven feet tall people.” 

These mounds were placed on the National Register and then promptly forgotten.  Three years earlier,  Arthur Kelly had been forced to resign from the faculty of the University of Georgia’s Department of Anthropology and simultaneously “non-personed” by his fellow archaeologists in Georgia.  His crime had been making public statements that he had found evidence of a Mesoamerican presence along the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers.  The article is entitled,  “The Sun Priestesses of the Okefenokee Swamp.”

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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.

10 Comments

  1. DPAINTER1941@GMAIL.COM'

    Always enjoy your postings

    Flying Eagle Painter

    Reply
    • Thank you! We all appreciate what your organization is doing for those people around the world, devastated by natural and man-made disasters.

      Reply
  2. lbtagawa@gmail.com'

    The first thing I thought of is the seven-foot-high skeletons in the Shenandoah Valley.

    Reply
    • Yes, you are right! I used to live in Shenandoah County, VA and visited Fort Loudoun in Winchester, where George Washington found seven feet skeletons.

      Reply
  3. ah.all@inorbit.com'

    When pursuing my degree in Anthropology at Georgia Southern College in the early 1980’s, our archaeology class was called to excavate something suspicious at a remote homesite being prepared for new construction near the hamlet of Eden, Georgia, about 15 miles north, northwest of Savannah. The site was on a slight mound inside the bend of a creek flowing into the nearby Ocmulgee River. The object that alarmed the new owners turned out to be a standard sized cedar coffin containing the crammed skeleton of an exceptionally large, very old female. Based on the findings, the individual would have topped out at a bit more than 6′ tall. Her hip bones indicated that she had given birth, and, at some point, broken a femur that had healed, though not very straight, likely leaving her a bit hobbled. As usual with the infirmed elderly, she would have been stashed in a closet or cellar prior to a raid from the local, indigenous people, and, in classic form, suffered a fatal tomahawk blow to the temple. I don’t recall anything unusual about the shape of her skull, but was suprised at how robust her bones were- very long, thick and dense, not the more delicate structure typical to Europeans of the day. From all we found, the old homestead appeared to have been occupied right around 1700.

    Reply
    • That is a very interesting date! I wonder who would have tomahawked this lady? Given her size, she sounds like an Apalache Creek lady, but that whole area was under the Creek Confederacy. The only thing that comes to mind is a Native American slave raid. The slavers typically killed everyone except older children, teenagers and women of child-bearing age . . . all of whom would have been sold into slavery.

      Reply
      • ah.all@inorbit.com'

        Richard, based on the footprint of the old dwelling, as well as the construction of the cedar coffin, we concluded this was a European homestead. The granny may have been indigenous, married to the patriarch of the clan, or possibly the mother of a young indigenous bride, married to an early European settler. The raid certainly could have been slavers, but, because this was a single, isolated homestead, could as likely been locals, hostile to the idea of interlopers.

        Reply

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