Richard Thornton | Mar 17, 2017 | 1
Can you translate these petroglyphs?
This boulder is known as the Mole Hill Petroglyphs. It is located in the Upper Long Swamp Creek Valley near Marble Hill, GA in Pickens County. The photo was taken in 1939 by the famous archeologist, Robert Wauchope. Long Swamp Creek flows southward through the world’s largest marble deposit to join the Etowah River near Ball Ground, GA. Most of the marble used on monuments and buildings in Washington, DC came from this valley.
Some of the images are obviously connected with the sun or moon. This may be some sort of calendar or else a memorial to a celestial event in the past. These symbols are different from typical petroglyphs in either North Georgia or the Southwestern Desert. However, due to the complexity of the composition, this is obviously not just graffiti, but something that had a very important meaning.
Throughout the winter of 2017, the People of One Fire will continue visiting over 100 archaeological sites in the Etowah Valley, which were first explored by such famous archaeologists as Charles C. Jones, Jr, Cyrus Thomas, Warren K. Moorehead, Margaret Asheley, Robert Wauchope, Arthur Kelly, Lewis Larson and Joseph Caldwell . . . but have largely been forgotten in the 21st century. Unfortunately, many of these sites are no longer visible on the surface, but may still contain ruins or artifacts under the surface.
The Tugaloo Petroglyphs, discovered by archaeologist Joseph Caldwell on Tugaloo Island in Northeast Georgia are somewhat similar in style, but obviously are describing an different event . . . or else have a different purpose.
We hope that you enjoy our journey into the past.
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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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