Richard Thornton | Aug 9, 2017 | 5
Elite on South Atlantic Coast had same name as Famous Civilization in Peru’s Nazca Valley
Numerous eyewitness accounts from the 16th and 17th centuries describe the elite or the high kings of South Atlantic provinces as being named the Paracusi or Paracusite. This title also was used by the high kings of the Apalache Kingdom in the Southern Highlands and the Calusa in Southern Florida. The word happens to be the real name of the first civilization on the Nazca Plain of Peru.
The Indigenous Peoples of the South Atlantic Coast – Part Three
Both the name of the Republic of Peru and its province of Paracas are Hispanicizations, derived from the Panoan word Parakusi, which means “ocean-strong”. Kusi or in some Panoan languages, Kausi or Kaushi, came to also mean the elite of an ethnic group. The Paracusi (Paracas) People built the famous fieldstone effigies in the Nazca Plain. After they left the region, the Nazca People built the fieldstone lines on the Nazca Plain. Both cultures also built earthen pyramids – aka “Indian mounds.”
The famous Paracas skulls contain up to 25% more area for the brain than typical homo sapien skulls. The extent that the Paracas People were genetically different than other homo sapiens is still the subject of frenetic debates. However, there is no doubt that they were substantially taller and brawnier than most other branches of the human family.
If you know French, read the memoirs of Captain René de Laudonnière, commander of Fort Caroline, or the encyclopedic book on the Caribbean and Southeast by Charles de Rochefort, l’Histoire Naturelle et Morale des isles Antilles de l’Amérique . If you prefer modern English, go to Three Voyages by Charles Bennett to read De Laudonnière’s description of the South Atlantic Coast in the 1560s or The Apalache Chronicles by Marilyn Rae and myself to learn about the visit of Richard Briggstock to the Lower Southeast in the 1650s.
Both books describe the high kings or leaders of assimilated provinces as being called either Paracousi or Paracousity. Spanish explorers used similar words such as Paracus, Paracusy and Paracas. This title was also used by the high king of the Calusa People in southern Florida. In most regions, the title quickly died out after Spanish diseases and firearms caused the assimilated provinces or “paramount chiefdoms” as anthropologists call them, to disappear.
The elite of the South Atlantic peoples were described as being extremely tall, up to seven feet, when most European men were 5′-4 to 5′-8″ in height. They had brawny physiques, which made them powerful warriors in battle. Some are described has having flattened foreheads. Others are not. It is difficult to determine the exact shape of the Paracusi of the Satibo (Satipo) people in the engraving above, because his headdress is conical in shape. Anthropologists did not know that the word Sati-uriwa was an alternate Panoan language title for the king of the Sati and so incorrectly call the entire ethnic group words similar to Satouriowa.
Charles de Rochefort furnishes readers far more details on the traditions and religious practices of the native peoples in the Lower Southeast. He said that the commoners generally buried their dead in the floors of their houses then burned the houses. However, the elite or Paracusite were mummified. The mummies were carried around in liters or placed on stone shrines until they began to mold. This custom is one likely explanation of the thousands of stone cairns found in northern Georgia. Other cairns may have been used for cremations or altars for burning copal incense.
The molded mummies were then placed in hand dug tombs. The caves were sealed with either fieldstone or conch shell walls. Of course, in Peru, mummification goes back over 9,000 years to the Chinchorro Culture. Mummification of Paracusi elite in the Southeast, along with the clothing, customs and Panoan language words of many peoples in the Lower Southeast is substantial evidence that the Paracusi of the South Atlantic region were descended from the Paracusi of western Peru.
The writings of Charles de Rochefort have been ignored by North American scholars for three centuries because he said that there was an advanced indigenous civilization in the mountains of Georgia named the Apalache that built towns out of stone. In earlier articles, we have quoted pioneer anthropologist, Charles Jones, Jr about the fact that early settlers in Southern Highlands and Piedmont encountered many, ancient stone ruins. Of course, their name is all over the maps in the 1500s and 1600s, but that didn’t matter.
There does not seem to be any awareness among anthropologists and historians concerning the connection of the title, Paracusi, in the Southeastern United States with the Paracusi People of Peru . . . but there should be. If the Inuit could migrate over 3,000 miles across hostile terrain between Siberia and Greenland, it is certainly plausible that the Paracusi could have hiked and paddled an equal distance between western Peru and the South Atlantic Coast.
Excerpt from speech given by Paracusi-te (High King) Chikili of the Creek Confederacy to the leaders of the new Colony of Georgia on June 7, 1735:
“Our first capital was where Savannah now sits and our first emperor is buried in a tomb near there.”
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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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