Discovery of Early Colonial Mining Colony in Southern Appalachians
An ancient village unearthed in 1834 in the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia represents an enigma. The structures are typical of late 16th century barracks in French forts built in the late 1500s and 1600s. The only artifacts mentioned in the article are Native American, which apparently belonged to the Native wives of the miners.
(Pictured Above) In 1828, laborers working for a gold mine owned by South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun on Dukes Creek in the Nacoochee Valley, uncovered a Spanish or Spanish Sephardic mining village along Dukes Creek. Some Spanish lettering was seen on metal tools. It consisted of detached cabins built out of heavy timber. In addition to mining tools, the laborers found a Spanish cigar mold. Apparently, the miners were also growing tobacco and making cigars from it. The architectural evidence suggests that the colonists of these two settlements were different nationalities.
PS – The Spanish mining village is described in the book by Charles C. Jones, Jr. – Antiquities of the Southern Indians. (1873)
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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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