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Enchanted Mountain . . . The first tourist at Track Rock Gap

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: To browse all articles in The Americas Revealed, go to:

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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.



    If you where a student of geology (Earth Sciences) in university you probably already heard that short lecture on kimberlite pipe formation. It starts with the diamonds already formed over 100km down in the mantle at fantastic pressures and temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees centigrade. Next some sort of focused high pressure pulse melts a path through billion year old hardened craton to the surface at speeds approaching hundreds of kilometers an hour until the diamonds in a fractured breccia formation called kimberlite explodes at the surface creating a usually perfect cone.

    It’s a fantastical story of course because of the thousand good but unanswered questions it poses, like how does something only 1000C burn a fast hole through miles of cold hard granite and why are there usually no signs at all of the pipe extending down to the mantle below 600 meters of the surface?

    In addition to kimberlite pipes we also find diamonds in meteorites and asteroids. They are usually extremely small but they are certainly there. This has led to an alternative concept for kimberlite formation… namely huge lightning strikes from above violently fracturing and quickly melting the rock below creating kimberlite pipes from the surface down as the electric current travels down to the mantle. The required energy of the strike would be enormous and well beyond any charge that could be produced in the atmosphere alone. Van Allen belt reconnections or other celestial sources like earth directed CMEs would be required. Before you laugh there is a retired Australian diamond geologist that thinks along these same lines lol!

    So yes Richard… there probably ARE diamonds near Thunder mountain.


    If you would like to consider an alternative electrical formation process for those enigmatic Siberian ‘pingo’ craters that does not involve involve global warming you can start your search at Google > Yamal B1 crater. You will find some of these perfectly shaped funnels are only 8 meters wide yet over 100 meters deep. If you look at them be sure to ask yourself where all that subterranean oxygen came from to ignite the methane to blow all that material out lol! (Spoiler alert: think ionospheric plasma arc)


    I am wondering if the above mentioned Mr. Stephenson has any relevance to the “Stephenson mound” in Nacoochee Valley that was excavated by Mr. Wauchope. It may have been small because there is no sign of it now.

    • I believe it is. He retired in Gainesville, but I believe that he had a small gold mining operation in the Nacoochee Valley.


    Richard, After your last article of the High quality of Georgia Gold I have no reason not to believe that is the Gold that was used by King Solomon for the inter part of the YHWH Temple and connected to the city of Tarshish of Spain. That’s why the term “Tani” is connected to Spain and to the Chattahoochee river of Georgia. The Natives of Savanna Georgia had a Seaport going back to 3500 BC and became known as “Titans” to lore of the Greeks.


      Richard, as a follow on the old name of Portugal was : Lusi- Tania. That seems to be a connection to the old city name of Troy (Wi-Lusa). Clearly some of the Tanit peoples made their way to Georgia and Tenn.


    Howdy, Enjoyed the article…have always been told Arkansas has only diamonds in lower 48.

    Now real reason for writing. Wrapped up in my muse when…Are there any stories about… Night THE STARS FELL?

    • About the Night that the Stars Fell In Alabama? We will do one! Those stars fell on the Alabama Creeks too!


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