Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
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:
The location is a general marker in the middle of a bowl where a watershed trickles northwest down from the mountains into Stanley Creek. Indian Grave Gap is just to the east at the peak between Dogwood Knob and Horsepen Mountain. The watershed is not labeled on any map I have seen (No blue line). The third is roughly <redacted> Lat and <redacted>. Again, those mounds are not that unknown to some of the avid hikers in the Gilmer County area, being right at the logging road. One of the rock mounds was actually dug out at some point. The diggers never reached the ground, but they left somewhat of a crater. I heard a story that there was a motion censor camera placed out there but law enforcements and the diggers were arrested about 12 years ago (I have no idea if this is a true story or not).
The Terraces however are along the southern ridge on the north face. I found them scattered across all along going from east to west. Most of what I saw was one wall, in some areas I saw two walls, one behind the other. At roughly <redacted> Lat and <redacted> Long is where I saw the series of 8-10 terraces heading up the mountain. (8 were distinct, 2 were very worn down).
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 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.
Latest posts by Ian Conrey (see all)
- Hiker Discovers Terrace Complex near Ellijay, Georgia - February 24, 2015