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Did Medieval Irish Colonists Settle in Dixie?

Did Medieval Irish Colonists Settle in Dixie?
An archaeological site on the campus of Warren Wilson College near Asheville, NC has puzzled archaeologists since the 1980s. It appears to be a standard Muskogean village, with pottery and houses similar that found in northern Georgia at the time . . . except that it contained a large corral in its center. There were also an abundance of deer bones. The Irish colonists, who supposedly came to the Southeast, raised domesticated dairy deer and made deer cheese!

An archaeological site on the campus of Warren Wilson College near Asheville, NC has puzzled archaeologists since the 1980s. It appears to be a standard Muskogean village, with pottery and houses similar that found in northern Georgia at the time . . . except that it contained a large corral in its center. There were also an abundance of deer bones. The Irish colonists, who supposedly came to the Southeast, raised domesticated dairy deer and made deer cheese!

A large chunk of granite has been found in northeast Georgia that is inscribed with a Celtic Cross. It was in a section of the state that was occupied by the Creek Indians until 1818.

The evidence is increasing that Irish Christians, fleeing persecution by foreign bishops, who were trying to enforce Roman Catholic practices on the Celtic Church, fled to North America in the 11th and 12th centuries. According to Icelandic and French monastic archives, Norse mariners provided them the transportation across the Atlantic. Supposedly, they settled south of where the Norse were colonizing, in what is now the Southeastern United States. They called their new home, Mór in Áire (Great Ireland) or DuH’áire. Scandinavians called their colony Står Irland (Great Ireland) or Vitmannsland (White Man’s Land.)

During the 1600s, most of the mixed ancestry descendants of these Irish colonists apparently were absorbed into old Kingdom of Apalache, which later evolved into the Creek Indian Confederacy. Some were probably also absorbed into the Cherokee Alliance or bands of Shawnee Indians.

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This story is obviously in its early stages.

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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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