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Did Zoque refugees bring the Olmec Civilization to the Appalachians or did the Olmec Civilization begin in Georgia?

Did Zoque refugees bring the Olmec Civilization to the Appalachians or did the Olmec Civilization begin in Georgia?


We are finding ancient, ornately carved rock art in the Soque Valley, unlike anything else in North America.

Here is a heads up for you!  Not only are we finding Olmec Civilization-style ballcourts in Northeast Georgia, but we have also identified large rock carvings that are very similar to those in and around the earliest occupation phases of Tres Zapotes in southern Vera Cruz and the embryonic Maya site of Izapa in Chiapas.  They are unlike anything else in North America. 

One of the Soque River Valley petroglyphs is almost identical to this one at Tres Zapotes, Vera Cruz, Mexico.

The oldest mounds in Georgia are over 2500 years older than the oldest mounds in Mexico.  However, what is especially intriguing is that the people in Tres Zapotes, unlike the other “Olmec Civilization” urban centers, built OVAL mounds like those Georgia.  However, construction of the oval mounds in Georgia began much earlier than those in Tres Zapotes.  Georgia also had pottery for over 1500 years before it appeared in Vera Cruz.  So the assumption that advanced culture traveled with immigrants from Vera Cruz to Georgia may not be valid.  It could very well be that the newcomers, who introduced pottery, ball courts and rock carving to Mexico, CAME FROM GEORGIA.  This would explain why Maya traders would know that a land, rich is valuable minerals, existed to the north and later, Maya commoners would flee to that region when life became unbearable. The sudden, massive influx of Itzas occurred around 1000 AD.

This weekend, we will be photographing a rock engraving on the eastern end of the Nacoochee Valley.  At this moment I am waiting permission from the property owners to take high resolution photographs of a large stela overlooking the Soque River, south of Clarkesville, GA.  When I get these images on my computer screen, I will begin to make more sense of them.  They seem to contain an unknown writing system.   We have seen it before on a stone slab, unearthed by archaeologist Robert Wauchope, 30 feet from the tomb of Eleanor Dare.

Tres Zapotes contained oval mounds like those being built by the Deptford Culture in Georgia.

Superficial TV documentaries have given Americans many misconceptions about the Olmec Civilization.  It was labeled “Olmec” in the 1940s by Gringo archaeologist, Matthew Stirling.  When in the 1950s,  radiocarbon dating clearly proved that the Olmecs arrived in the region about a thousand years after the famous “Olmec Stone Heads” were created,  Mexican archaeologists didn’t not have the cultural confidence to override the false labeling of this civilization, so went along with the original name.

The “Olmec Civilization” did not “mysteriously disappear” as many TV documentaries have told you!   The large city of La Venta stopped building mounds around 400 BC, but other cities, such as Tres Zapotes, continued to evolve.  The “Olmec writing system” did not appear until around 100 AD!  However, there was an earlier and different writing system, with artistic symbols identical to those found in the art of Etowah Mounds, which dates much earlier – perhaps coinciding with the arrival of pottery around 900 BC.  Between around 200 AD and 900 AD, the Olmec region was a part of the Maya Civilization, but it continued to evolve after many Lowland Maya cities were abandoned. 

Every geometric form on this stela from Izapa, Chiapas can be found on another Soque Valley stela.

Several distinct ethnic groups lived in the “Olmec” Civilization.  As early as around 1700 BC, people, who looked like the Lowland Mayas were making great advances in agriculture, but not building large mounds or carving stone.  A new people arrived around 1200 BC, who looked like Polynesians or Samoans and liked to carved enormous human heads of themselves.  Another people introduced pottery and mound-building around 900 BC.  These people were taller and wore mustaches like the Creeks in Georgia.  After around 400 BC, Highland Mayas moved into the region,  their architecture was a little different than the architecture of earlier peoples.  They also introduced trade with other parts of the Americas. 

After I have a chance to closely analyze photos of the newly discovered rock carvings from the Soque and Sautee Valleys, POOF readers will get to see photographs and videos of these extraordinary archaeological 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.


    • The problem is that all of these alternative Olmec origins experts mix and match time periods and are totally ignorant of what was going on elsewhere in the Americas. It is far more plausible that mound builders from the Southeast reached Mexico than Chinese, who in 1200 AD did not have ships capable of crossing the Pacific Ocean. The Olmecs did not have pottery until 300 years after he claims that the Chinese founded them. So the symbols that he says are similar are actually about 400 years apart. Mr. Xu also claims that the Creeks and Cherokees were originally Muslims because the Cherokee and Creek cavalry units during the Civil War carried battle flags with the Cross and Crescent on them. I pointed out to them that the Cross and Crescent symbol was the logo of the Mississippi Department of the Confederate Army, whose symbol was derived from the coat of arms of the City of New Orleans. The African connection thing is equally amusing. They are comparing a writing system created in the 1920s AD to one that evolved about 2000 years ago.




    Richard, Thanks for the articles. As most Native Elders of the South East did state they crossed from the land of the rising Sun. A connection with Egypt and Georgia are the Earthworks symbols of the Buzzard and serpent. The same type of step Pyramids from here connect some dots…its likely there are some “river stone Terraced pyramids” like the ones in the Azores/ Mediterranean area in the South somewhere. The oval mounds, elongated skulls, bronze age, terracing of hills people seem to have been connected as far as the Black Sea to the South East U.S. The Exodus of different peoples from the Mediterranean area could have been caused by iron age people from the (the Elam /Indus area) who made their way up the Euphrates/ Tigris rivers. The Paracus were just one of the Groups, another were the triangle temple copper/bronze age people of Cyprus, and Berbers of North Africa seem to have left from that area to the Americas and many settled in Mexico…as the so called Olmecs and later part of the Teotihuacan city…then some back to Georgia.


    Richard, It’s possible you have found some of the ancient lay lines in Georgia…another connection with the bronze age people of Europe. Thanks for the articles.


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