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Happy Poskita, and the answer to the quiz is . . .

Bronze Age Ireland  . . . County Kerry

What is obviously a Native American flint sword from the Southeastern United States and classically shaped Deptford Style Pottery from the Deptford Site in Savannah, GA are actually artifacts produced by the aboriginal people of Southwest Ireland – The Late Bell Beaker Culture.

If County Kerry sounds familiar, a couple of years ago the People of One Fire ran a series of articles on the petroglyphic boulders in the North Georgia Gold Belt.  All, except the one at Track Rock Gap, are extremely similar or identical to petroglyphic boulders found in the southwest corner of Ireland . . . County Kerry  . . . and of all places, Ven Island in the Oresund Channel between Denmark and Sweden.  Ven was a Copper and Bronze Age marketing center of the Gamla Folk, who lived in Scandinavia before the Scandinavians.

Reinhardt Petroglyphs

The Reinhardt Petroglyphic Boulder was found next to an old Native American trail.

Kyrka Klippa on Ven Island, Sweden were petroglyphs are located

Kyrka Klipa on Ven Island, Sweden – where very similar petroglyphs are located

The aboriginal people of Ireland looked very different than the majority of Irish today, whose ancestors came from the British Isles and ultimately eastern Europe.  The Irish Natives had black hair, bronze skin,  non-European faces and were expert seamen.  They also mined large copper deposits in southwestern Ireland and sold it to the world, while still making stone tools and weapons for themselves.  They were pushed out of Ireland by newcomers bearing iron weapons, who looked like the modern Irish, except for those remnant mixed-heritage people, we now call the Black Irish.  The newcomers called the Natives, Ciarraighe, which was eventually Anglicized by their English overlords to Kerry.   The Natives called themselves the “Water People” or “Sea People.”

The kinsmen of the Ciarraighe to the northeast were called the Osraighe or Deer People.   They developed a dairy deer and made cheese from deer milk.  Remember the “preposterous” story early Spanish explorers told of the Duhare people near the mouth of the Savannah River, who lived like Indians, except that they raised dairy deer and domesticated waterfowl?  Du’h’aire was the pre-Medieval Gaelic word for Ireland.

Over a century ago,  Smithsonian archaeologists excavated enigmatic stone ruins at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina.  They consisted of stone beehive tombs like the one in County Kerry, pictured above.  Several tombs contained Caucasian skeletons.  Nearby they found smelters where copper ore had been processed into copper, but also found what appeared to be iron tools.   The dig was well documented, but completely ignored by North Carolina academicians today.

More recently,  in 1937 Smithsonian archaeologist, James Ford, was dispatched to the mouth of the Altamaha River in SE Georgia to determine the eligibility of Santo Domingo State Park becoming a national park.  In test pits, he found 16th century European detritus, PLUS bronze axes, wedges, daggers and a sword.  He naively interpreted the bronze artifacts as being discarded by Spanish soldiers.   They were put on display in the Santo Domingo Park Museum during World War II, but the State of Georgia closed the park in 1947, because the Smithsonian sent it a letter stating that there was nothing of significance there.  No one knows what happened to the artifacts, Ford unearthed.

By the way,   the last time that “Spanish” soldiers carried bronze weapons was around 600 BC.   The park also contained the ruins of what was probably Fort San Mateo and Fort Caroline from the 1560s.  However, Ford did not examine the earthworks, because he assumed that “some Indians built them.”

Enigmatic words in a forgotten Native American language

During the past two months, I have become, on behalf of a client there,  deeply immersed into the early history of the Lower Savannah River Basin.  The simplistic “model” that anthropologists created for this region in the late 20th century, just does not “cut the mustard.”    I could not believe my eyes when a read a anthropological paper jointly written in 2014 by professors from public universities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, which stated, “We looked up the Native American village names along the South Atlantic Coast in Cherokee and Catawba dictionaries and could not find the words.  Therefore they must be from an unknown language. ”   What?  They can’t afford the $20 for a Creek dictionary?

Nevertheless, all but a few of these place names are from South America.  Most are Panoan from Peru.  However, some are Tupi-Guarani words from the Amazon Basin or Southern Arawak words, such as “ke” for people, from Ecuador and Peru.

The Euchee living along the Lower Savannah River had a very different language from those on the coastal islands, for which there is no dictionary.  Even though the Euchee consider the mouth of the Savannah River as the first place they landed after crossing the ocean,  the local Euchee language was different than spoken by their kinsmen elsewhere. They called their land Chikora.  They called themselves, “The Water People.”  Their Muskogean neighbors called their land Chikola.   Don’t pay any attention to what Wikipedia says about “Chicora’s” location being far to the north.

The Savannah River Euchee word for water is “ou-e”.   That’s the same word used by Muskogee speakers, but by nobody else in North America.   It that is not strange enough, there was another population in the world that used the same word for water.  They were those Pre-Gallic aborigines in Ireland, western Scotland and the western coast of France.  The first syllable of “whiskey” comes from that word, as does the French word for water, eau.

So we have a situation in which aboriginal peoples on both sides of the Atlantic made very similar petroglyphs, pottery and flint knives, plus used the same word for “water”  . . .  plus called themselves the Water People.  Obviously,  Eastern North America’s history is quite a bit more complex than is described in high school history texts.  There is much that we don’t know.

 

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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.

8 Comments

  1. csmoke@webound.com'

    you provide some wonderful information, as always. the few bits of information I have of my “Euchee…” always fit perfectly with your historical. for a long time, I thought too many snows have fallen, to really know where the ancestors came from………now , thanks, I keep seeing more.

    Reply
    • Well, thank you my friend. I seem to digging up more questions at a faster rate than I am coming up with answers, but at least we are affirming that the Euchee People are worthy of people’s interest. They were ignored far too long.

      Reply
      • csmoke@webound.com'

        sort of an amusing “aside” , not about the Euchees, but the Cherokees from your vicinity. I hear they rode through here (MO) on bicycles couple of days ago. Think they had a support vehicle (van?) for their food/camping,.. they were experiencing the “trail of tears”. To experience better, they should have left their bicycles/clothing-shoes/ food and made their treck on foot in the winter. Maybe more insight… maybe 1/4 could have died off for more reality. Also, heard they were doing karokee singing with the soldiers at nearby Fort?? oh, no

        Reply
  2. stuhar@onlymyemail.com'

    The group of beehive ‘tombs’ I visited in County Kerry were not tombs but living quarters for monks.

    Reply
    • The beehive tombs date from the Copper and Bronze Ages – around 2500 BC to around 600 BC. They are smaller than the beehive houses built during the Early Middle Ages. Undoubtedly the early tombs inspired the much larger houses, however.

      Reply
  3. joseph-valentin@outlook.com'

    How do we know that the beehive tombs are from 2500 BC to around 600 BC ? were they carbon dated? (not that I believe in carbon dating) Is there any evidence that they could have bean built by later medieval monks?

    Reply
    • That information came from articles in the UK and apparently they were radiocarbon dated . . . but personally I would not know one way or another.

      Reply

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