Enchanted Mountain . . . The first tourist at Track Rock Gap
Why thar’s diamonds in them thar hills!
He is the source of that famous phrase, “Why thar’s gold in them thar hills,” but didn’t exactly say those words. Dr. Mathew F. Stephenson was a highly educated man, who was a nationally recognized geologist and wrote the FIRST article on Etowah Mounds for what is now called National Geographic Magazine. Before the Etowah Mounds article, he also wrote several articles for the Smithsonian Institute’s Journal on the geology of the Southern Appalachians. He was also the first citizen of the United States to discover diamonds in North America. Diamonds . . . yes, diamonds. One of the many details of my book, Itsapa . . . the Itza Mayas in North America, which the History Channel left out in America Unearth’s premier, was that during the late 1500s, Spanish traders traveled inland to ancestral Creek towns in the Nacoochee Valley and Track Rock Gap to buy diamonds, rubies and sapphires . . . in addition to gold, copper, natural brass and silver. You will learn that even though Dr. Stephenson announced his discovery of diamonds in the Southern Highlands, millions of dollars of diamonds were tossed away by Georgia gold miners, because they thought that the little clear pebbles were merely quartz. There are still millions of dollars of diamonds in the ancient volcanoes around where I live.
The latest article in The Americas Revealed online magazine is about Dr. Stephenson, the Georgia Gold Rush, the US Mint in Dahlonega AND the first Anglo-American tourist to visit Track Rock Gap. He called the location of Track Rock Gap, Enchanted Mountain, but his comments on the constant lighting strikes where the petroglyphs are located, resulted in that mountain being named “Thunderstruck Mountain.” The mountain where the terrace complex is located is now called “Buzzard’s Roost Mountain.” Stephenson wrote a report to the US Government about his geological exploration in the mysterious Georgia Mountains in 1834. It played a major role in the decision to build a mint in Dahlonega. In 1855, the segment of the report on Track Rock Gap was published in Historical Collections of Georgia by George White. Our E-magazine article closes with this article.
Stephenson correctly stated that the Cherokees told him that they had nothing to do with the stone structures at Track Rock Gap, but naively interpreted the petroglyphs at Track Rock Gap as the work of bored Indian hunters and the stone ruins as the burial markers of great Indian chiefs and warriors. The Southeast’s pioneer archaeologist, Charles C. Jones, Jr., correctly stated in his 1873 landmark book, Antiquities of the Southern Indians, that the petroglyphs were a forgotten writing system and that the ancestors of the Creek Indians built stone architecture and retaining walls. Twenty years later, Smithsonian ethnologist, James Mooney, mocked Jones in his book, Myths of the Cherokees, and then said that the petroglyphs were the markings of “bored Cherokee hunters.” Astonishingly, the report to the US Forest Service by Stratum Unlimited archaeologists in 2001 merely replicated Stephenson’s interpretation of the petroglyphs and stone ruins, but inserted Mooney’s addition of the word “Cherokee.” An Americas Revealed article in the near future will compare the wording used by Stephenson and Mooney to the wording of the early 21st century archaeological report. Your tax money paid for that report. To read the article on Stephenson got to: https://apalacheresearch.com/2019/08/06/enchanted-mountain-a-tourist-at-track-rock-gap-georgia-in-1834/ To browse all articles in The Americas Revealed, go to: https://apalacheresearch.com
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