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Hiker Discovers Terrace Complex near Ellijay, Georgia

Ian Conrey has discovered a terrace complex and ruins of at least one old cabin in the Chattahoochee National Forest between Ellijay, GA and Amicalola Falls.  It contains all the features seen at other terrace complex sites . . .  rock covered mounds,  stone cairns, agricultural terraces and sometimes, the ruin of an old European style cabin.   We have significant evidence that during the late 1500s and 1600s – perhaps early 1700s – European gold miners and traders lived in Itsate and Apalache towns.  A published letter has been found from one of these European colonists in North Georgia that is dated January 6, 1660.  Mr. Conrey describes his discovery here with photographic evidence. We have redacted the exact coordinates to limit possible vandalism. Established POOF members can contact Richard for the exact coordinates:


I have attached 7 pictures. #CAM00384 is of the mound which was dug out somewhat. There is a second mound maybe 15 feet north of this one. #CAM00419 is of the mound further east which stands alone. It is in much better shape than the other two. I also found a very large hole near this site (Picture #CAM00432). I am not sure if this was dug out a long time ago or maybe it was a sink hole or something. There were no rock piles or mounds of dirt near it. “4 Terrace Evidence CAM00336” is of one of the many walls along the north face of the southern ridge. It is one wall with another other wall directly behind it. #CAM00427 is of the series of terraces heading up the mountain. You can see two in this photo and there are many more uphill from there. #CAM00374 is a stone I found lying near the first two rock mounds. That light colored stick is roughly the length of my hand, to give a size comparison. It is evenly flat and looks like it was cut. #CAM00338 has nothing to do with Indian ruins but I thought interesting. It is a chimney situated next to the creek. It is also near the logging road and is smack in the middle of all these ruins. A rock wall runs along directly behind it. When I first saw this chimney I thought the rock walls were more modern and perhaps colonial, but the mounds and terraces seem to suggest otherwise.

There are other interesting ruins as well. Mostly stacks of rock and dug out areas. It is hard to tell the difference between what was done by loggers and what was from the Itsate.

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Ian Conrey

Ian Conrey is married with two children. He teaches Biblical Studies and Christian Thought classes as well American and World History classes at North Georgia Christian Academy. He is also a student pastor at Covenant Community Church of Ellijay. He insists that he is not an archeologist, but loves the outdoors. Having worked in the fly fishing industry, he has explored many of the tributaries of the Cartacay and Ellijay Rivers in the Cohutta Wilderness, the Rich Mountain WMA, and the Blue Ridge WMA. He also enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and anything else that gets him outside.'

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    Richard – It is my understanding that you have been on site at the rock walls / terraces found in Chambers County, Alabama. I am curious to know how the Chambers County structures compare with those found in north Georgia.


      I have not seen or heard of the Chambers County, AL terraces. Do you have information and photos on them.

      I have looked at the archaeological report for the terraces on Rattlesnake Mountain near Jacksonville State University in Alabama. It has all the elements of Track Rock, but is a tiny fraction of the size of Track Rock. There are several small terrace complexes in the same county as Track Rock that are the same size as the one studied by Jacksonville State.


        I have not seen or heard of the Chambers County, AL terraces. Do you have information and photos on them.

        We (East Alabama Archaeology Society) had a guest speaker three, maybe four, years ago that presented a slide show about the Chambers County terraces. Teresa Paglione, NRCS Archaeologist, organized a couple of field trips to the site but I was unable to go at the time. She has a photo file but I am not sure that I can obtain copies of any of the photos. Someone (I don’t remember who) said that you had been to the site. Have to guess that person didn’t know what he was talking about.


          I would greatly appreciate you following up on this. I live very modestly and can’t afford to take long trips. However, it is very important that the National Park Service sees the full extent of these sites visually on the GIS base map.

          Tell you contacts that ONLY the NPS and state historic preservation agencies will have access to our GIS and GPS data. The map will not be used by poachers. Thanks!


    Richard …..have not presented anything in North Georgia in my “proposed” publication “Native Americans in S.E. Colonial America”…. but this “seems” to tie the Creeks to the area. This might encourage the youngsters .. I am focused on ….to keep an eye out…for this kind of old structures…as they wander around in the woods. I would like to offer your latest “People of One Fire” article and try and get them turned onto ….your excellent research in bring to life….forgotten stories of the hidden history of the early Native Americans in the lands of a newly discovered county .. as the whites begin to displace the Native American’s for development.
    May I add this article …. toward the end of my proposed publication. Robert Page


    there are also interesting rock formations in SE Oklahoma
    just south of the Kiamichee Mtns

    also if you haven’t looked into the mystery of
    the Rockwall in Rockwall Texas….
    it is very interesting…

    {I got to see some of the “Wall” at an excavation in ’00}

    see Josh Reeves Global Reality/Red Ice Creations…

    and on a broader global scale there are the megaliths &
    Tellinger, Sitchin, & Velikofsky…

    Live Long


      Thank you for commenting Anthony. Geologist Scott Wolter analyzed the rock walls in Rockwall County, TX and found them to be natural formations. The stone ruins in the Texas Panhandle, eastern Oklahoma and eastern Kansas are definitely man made. An indigenous people moved into the region for a period of time and built rectangular stacked stone houses, whose walls were often supported by earth berms. My gut feeling (aka theory) is that the builders were from northern Mexico and had moved up there to escape volcanic eruptions and drought.


    I have always be interested in archaeology/indians I am cherokee, and all connected to this. I lived in Chicopee Ga where the woods was where I grew up. There are two sites that might be interesting, The Blue Hole on the north side of the village, and The Big Rock on the south side of the village -in the woods. I wish I was up there to take pictures and show you. I believe there is a story on both of them. I am 66 and live in Brunswick, Ga now. Thanks for reading.



    I lived at the base of rich Mt. for 17 years, literally my back yard. That mountain has more secrets and history that we know or have been taught. If you think of the tectonic plates colliding and the Appalachian mountains being one of the oldest on the planet the bowl this man is talking about is close to the top of rich Mt and connects two large leads coming off the mountain where the Ralston Creek “valley” is. Imagine that it was an ancient volcano, some of the first land to appear after the great flood. I know things travel and get traded, when you pick up a fluted Clovis point from the paleolithic era in ellijay that predates Cherokee and Creek Indians it makes you think. I’m sure we all have the understanding of how difficult it is to bring people around to a new way of thinking, Isaac Newton didn’t discover gravity he gave it a name.

    • Not to mention the fact that one of the largest gold nuggets every found on this planet came from the Rich Mountains!


        There is story of a man almost a century ago, took a boulder half size of an suv, busted it down to the size of a basket ball it was so hard he put it on a thick slab of granite busted it to size of a small cantaloupe cut it open and it was a red gem size of an Apple. That story was told to me by my great-grandfather in the early 90s same story years later by a man who did work for the DNR in Gilmer co. Boulder that came off Rich Mt.

        • My understanding is that there are still gems and gold in the Rich Mountains . . . but in my hiking there, I have seen neither.


            I own property that borders Rich Mt WMA which has old rock terraces and huge mounds of stone and others that are dirt mounds. I have found green soap stone turtle that is about 35 lb. and much much more

          • Josh,

            Congratulations, you are near one of the other Itza Maya terrace complexes in Georgia. There are at least 12 of them. Do you a photo of the big green turtle that you could share with the other readers? Our email address is

            Thank you for writing us.

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