Footnote: More about the 7 feet tall people of the Okefenokee Swamp
In yesterday’s long article, I wanted to keep the discussion in the realm of established facts. They would surprising enough for most readers, not familiar with the real history of the Lower Southeast. I also wanted the readers to understand that there is no comprehensive archaeological information about the Okefenokee Swamp Basin and its indigenous inhabitants. All available information points to the Okefenokee Basin being a “Indigenous Garden of Eden” from which advanced cultures in many areas of North America sprang . . . but we don’t know that for a fact. Most of what little information we have was concealed by the clique of anthropology professors, who took control of things, after Dr. Arthur Kelly was non-personed. Below is a list of known facts, mixed with my speculative interpretations.
Ethnic identity of the tall people: They were obviously the Paracusa from western Peru, since the extremely tall High Kings of the provinces on the coast of Georgia and South Carolina were called Paracusa or Paracusa-te (Paracusa People). The high kings of the Apalache Kingdom and Creek Confederacy also went by this title. North American academicians (unless you consider me an academician) did not attempt to translate the name of the king of the Satile, which was Satiuriwa. As you will read in a legion of anthropological articles and books, they assumed that Satituriwa as the name of the ethnic group. It actually is a Panoan (Peru) agglutinative word, meaning “Colonists – King.”
Locations of Tall People Skeletons: The Georgia archaeologists, who discovered the 7 feet skeletons in the larger mounds, within the Okefenokee Swamp were employed by what was then called the Fish and Wildlife Bureau. The summary of their report stated that “the builders of these mounds were obviously a superior race with physiological features different than those of the Seminole (actually Oconee Creek) mound builders, who followed them.” This statement indicates that someone compared skeletons excavated from burial mounds in the Okefenokee Swamp. However, current personnel of the Fish and Wildlife Service claim to have no knowledge of the archaeological studies or the skeletons.
Archaeological Reports: I have a digital copy of the 1973 nomination of twelve mounds in the Okefenokee Swamp Basin for the National Register of Historic Places. It was prepared by the Georgia Historic Preservation Office and provided full citations for the archaeological studies on which these nominations were based. These archaeological reports were included as attachments, but I don’t currently have a copy of the attachments. The reader should know that a total of 76 Native American mounds and village sites in the Okfenokee Basin were identified by the archaeologists or biologists, but the State of Georgia only nominated 12 mounds . . . all of which contained 7 feet tall skeletons. None of the mounds containing shorter skeletons or the remains of cremated humans were nominated. The National Park Service approved the nominations. Below is a sample for one of the mounds.
The present Georgia Division of Historic Preservation claims to have no copy of this National Register nomination and no knowledge of the archaeological studies done by faculty members of the University of Georgia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This office referred me to Dr. Mark Williams, Director of the Laboratory of Archaeology at the University of Georgia. He did not respond to my request for information.
In 1993, the University of Georgia Department of Anthropology published a 65 page book entitled, The Mississippi Period Archaeology of the Georgia Coastal Plain. The book does not specifically mention or even note on a map the 76 Native America mounds and village sites given official state site numbers or the 12 mounds that are now on the National Register of Historic Places. It also does not mention the archaeological work done in the Okefenokee Swamp by University of Georgia faculty members and employees of the federal government. It makes no mention of the French exploration of the Okefenokee Swamp, when it was called Sarrope or William Bartram’s visit in 1776. Below is the sole discussion of the national wildlife refuge’s extraordinary archaeological treasures in this book.
Chris Trowell of South Georgia College has been conducting a survey of artifact collections and surface exposures within and around the Okefenokee Swamp for several years (1978, 1979, 1984). The survey and test excavations are opportunistic; therefore, his data are not statistically representative. However, his efforts have extended over such a temporal and spatial distance that his discoveries are probably an accurate reflection of the cultures which occupied the swamp. Trowell’s investigations of the many mounds in the swamp has determined that they are associated with Weeden Island ceramic types. A radiocarbon date of 955 B.P. +/- 105 (UGA 2136) was obtained from a trash pit at site 9Wel on Cowhouse Island which contained Weeden Island ceramics. This date places the site within the temporal limits of this review. However, Weeden Island sites are typically placed within the larger category of Woodland adaptations. As may be seen from the Central Zone of the Lower Flint and the Ocmulgee Big Bend, however, this does not necessarily exclude it from consideration.
In addition to the Weeden Island materials, Trowell reported other ceramic types from the Okefenokee. On six of the twelve sites which Trowell discusses (1984) he reports finding either Irene or Lamar ceramics which are traditionally associated with Mississippian. Also, what he calls Savannah Cord Marked sherds are recorded from five of the sites. Actual sherd counts were not given, but relative frequencies running from rare to frequent were noted. While these statistics are not as precise as one would like, they are adequate to demonstrate that Mississippian ceramic types are much rarer than those of Weeden Island. This along with other work suggests to Trowell that there was a decline in aboriginal utilization of the paudian environment during the Mississippi Period (Trowell 1978, 1979, 1984). As discussed elsewhere, an alternative explanation is that the Woodland tradition persisted into the Mississippi Period within the Okefenokee Swamp.
Latest posts by Richard Thornton (see all)
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- Footnote: More about the 7 feet tall people of the Okefenokee Swamp - November 7, 2018
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