Images: Is this a massive mound on the Flint River?
GPS Coordinates: 32°55’50.8″N 84°31’05.8″W
Natural geological features can sometimes fool you. They seem to be man-made, but then turn out to be flukes of Mother Nature. On Google Earth imagery, this geological feature just looks like an odd hill between the Flint River and a low mountain ridge. However, when viewed with high resolution ERSI satellite imagery, this five sided pyramidal form is highly suspicious. It is perfectly aligned to the solar azimuth. There is a terrace on the ridge immediately the east of it. There are stone cairns on the ridge above it.
This pyramidal form faces THE COVE, an mysterious Shangri-la like valley, which is cut off from the rest of the world by the eastern end of Pine Mountain and the Flint River Gorge. On the slopes of the Flint River Gorge are hundreds of stone cairns and some stone-walled agricultural terraces. In THE COVE are several mounds and stone cairns, plus numerous Native American village sites.
Although located only a few miles north of the Fall Line, the Flint River Gorge contains the scenery and plant life of the Blue Ridge Mountains, over 100 miles to the north. Like the Nacoochee Valley in Northeast Georgia, THE COVE is considered to be one of the most sacred places of the Creek People.
It has been inhabited continuously by mankind since the Ice Age. Clovis Points points, beautiful Swift Creek pottery AND sophisticated “Mississippian Culture” artifacts are abundant. A band of Creek Indians, associated with one of the principal leaders of the Creek Confederacy, were able to hide out here, when most Creeks were expelled from West Georgia. Their descendants still live in the region and are theoretically eligible for Federal Recognition.
During the past year, with the support of Access Genealogy and donations by three People of One Fire subscribers, I have been intensely analyzing all of the known Native American archaeological sites in the Chattahoochee-Flint-Apalachicola River System. The maps, satellite images, architectural drawings and reports will soon be posted online so Native Americans in the Southeast will know where these sites are. This will enable you to both visit these legacies from the past and protect them from destruction.
Just this past week, I observed in horror as four satellite images over a period of five years documented the complete leveling of a town site with multiple mounds on the Lower Flint River. In 1997, an archaeology class from the University of Georgia documented the town’s fortification ditch, mounds and ceremonial ponds. They gave the town’s ruins an official archeological site number then kept their discovery a secret. The professor soon moved to a university in another part of the United States and has now retired there. I am not sure that the property owner even knew what they had discovered.
Then five years ago, an agricultural commodities corportation leased the land to grow corn to make into ethanol. Its contractors first filled in the town’s fortification ditch. They then leveled the mounds and finally filled in the ceremonial ponds. Undoubtedly, this bulldozing effort was in multiple violations of the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, but in reality, there is no one “watching the chicken house” nowadays in rural areas of the Southeast, except Native American descendants.
We are running out of time!
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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.
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