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In an Era of Arrogant Ignorance, Our Heritage Is Trivialized and Trashed

In an Era of Arrogant Ignorance, Our Heritage Is Trivialized and Trashed

 

The composition above is the opening scene of the first “Power Point Movie” that will be displayed on the new People of One Fire Youtube Channel.  In doing the research for this program, I became appalled at the lack of scientific curiosity that the archaeology profession in the Southeast has consistently displayed toward both the ancient petroglyphs and stone structures of the Southern Highlands for over a century.  The list of archaeologists, who have published any significant discussions of these legacies starts and ends with Charles C. Jones, Jr. (1873) and Robert Wauchope (1939).  Even these two men made no effort to interpret the petroglyphs and stone ruins they discovered.  At least, they drew and photographed them, though. 

There are a couple of anthropology professors right now, who are interested in the subject, but tell me they can’t get published . . . or even get the subjects discussed at meetings, sponsored by the Southeastern Archaeological Conference. One, a new professor at the University of Georgia, is even aware that the Forsyth Petroglyphic boulder, now on the UGA campus. contains Scandinavian glyphs that can be translated.  They are afraid to “make waves” about the situation for fear that the “Lords of Seth” in Anthropology will pull strings to cause their academic tenures to be revoked.  It has happened before.  You see . . . they also have figured out that these petroglyphs were not created by “Late Archaic and Woodland Period ancestors of the Cherokee Indians.”  To say otherwise would put them in direct conflict with books and professional papers, published by the Lords of Seth, both alive and deceased.

A task force of the American Institute of Professional Geologists embarked on a national survey of petroglyphic sites in the United States. It is supposed to be a comprehensive inventory of petroglyphs throughout the nation, but only mentions two in the Lower Southeast . . . Track Rock Gap, Georgia and Judaculla Rock, North Carolina.  Their descriptions state, “Archaeologists have determined that Judaculla Rock was carved by ancestors of the Cherokee Indians” and “Archaeologists have determined that the Track Rock petroglyphs were probably carved by ancestors of the Cherokee Indians . . . or possibly by the Creeks and Catawbas.”  Catawbas???  There are 16 major petroglyph sites in the Georgia Gold Belt alone.

I eventually determined that the geologists’ “comprehensive survey in the Southeast” consisted of a geology professor at North Carolina State University contacting its anthropology department about a list of petroglyphs in the Southeast.  Someone there contacted the anthropology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (which is still about 300-400 miles north of most of the Georgia petroglyph sites).  Someone at UNC-Chapel Hill contacted the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Cultural Preservation Office . . . which provided them a list of two “Cherokee petroglyph sites.”

A description of the Judaculla Rock by an anthropology professor at UNC-Chapel Hill did admit that “The Cherokees might not have created it, but rather it was carved by a race of tall, slant-eyed Indians from the West, who eventually returned to the West. No one knows the meaning of the word, Judaculla. Apparently, it is a Cherokee word from their ancient language that has been forgotten.  The meanings of the carvings are also unknown, but probably involve descriptions of a spiritual world conceived by Cherokee hunters to enhance their success on the hunt.”

Unlike this professor, I own a Muskogee-Creek Dictionary.  Judaculla is the Anglicization of the Creek words that mean “Sky-Kulla.”  Kulla was the name of the Proto-Creek town with multiple mounds that was bull-dozed to build Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.  The Kulasi (Cullasee) moved south after the Cherokees invaded then became major divisions of both the Creek Confederacy and Seminole Alliance.  However, it is unlikely that you will see this explanation in any public reference soon, because provincial archaeologists in the region will fight it tooth and nail.  It means that the Cherokees were very late arrivals to Western North Carolina.

The artist, who painted the Judaculla Rock, intentionally left out hundreds of smaller dots on the upper half, which represented stars in the night sky.

So much for the high standards of scientific excellence practiced by all those concerned.  The truth is that archaeologists don’t know diddlysquat about the petroglyphs, other than the fact that some, but not many, may know some of their locations.  They have given no thought to the meanings, age and authorship of these ancient works.  Furthermore, these anthropology professors, both in North Carolina and Georgia, are grossly unaware that the Uchees, Chickasaws, Apalache-Creeks and Kansas had a substantial presence in North Georgia for many centuries before the word Cherokee even ever appeared on a map.  How could they possibly credit petroglyphs in the Georgia Mountains to a tribe located near Charlotte, NC . . . the Catawba?  Guess they were just rooting for their own Injun team.

Despite their skill at producing awkward English syntax, designed to impress commoners with their superior education,  the truth is that few archaeologists in the Southeastern United States are truly anthropologists . . . despite having advanced degrees with that name.  They are still chained to their heritage a century ago of being glorified art collectors for the wealthy and Northeastern museums.  They view their prime directive to be the excavation, cleaning and labeling of small artifacts.  There is no empathy for the peoples, who made the artifacts or any particular intellectual curiosity to learn more about those indigenous peoples beyond what was learned by rote memory in college.  At a 2004 meeting of the Society for Georgia Archaeology,  a leader of the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists announced, “We now know everything there is to know about the Southeastern Indians.  It is time to move onto to other things.”   The public statements by both organizations since 2011, have proven that these quasi-professionals don’t know caca about the cultural heritage of the Uchee and Creek Peoples.   They are completely unaware that the Highland Apalache once dominated much of the region and that Appalachian (Apalachen) is the plural of Apalache in the Apalache language.

 

The Harben Mound was an extremely unusual five-sided diamond shape.  The site is located due south of Amicalola Falls, adjacent to Cochran Creek.

The Harben Mound . . . a metaphor for America’s degenerate intellectual environment

In 1939,  Robert Wauchope was hired by the WPA to carry out an archaeological survey of the counties in the Highlands and Piedmont of Georgia.  He spent so much time in the Nacoochee Valley, plus the upper sections of the Etowah and Chattahoochee Rivers, he had little time left to survey the remainder of North Georgia.  The following year, while teaching at the University of Georgia, Wauchope received a letter from an Atlanta lady, who said that her family owned a 40 feet tall mound in northern Dawson County and that there were many more mounds nearby.

Wauchope drove over to Dawson County on a Saturday and tried to find the mounds.  Several local people confirmed the presence of a mound 40-50 feet tall and several other dome-shaped mounds.  However, he did not understand their directions and could not find the mounds.  Nevertheless, he gave the mounds official site numbers and recorded their approximate locations.

In 1959, Wauchope returned to Georgia with his family for the first time in 20 years.  The landscape had changed so radically that he could not even find many of the mounds and village sites, which he had excavated. Nevertheless, he began working on preparation of his report on North Georgia from what was left of his notes and artifact collections.  In fact, he had never returned many of the collections that he had “borrowed” from Nacoochee Valley residents and now they were in the possession of Tulane University, where he taught.  Wauchope could not read his own handwriting and so labeled the Harben Mound, the Harvin Mound, when his book was published in 1966.

In 1986,  the “Harvin Mound” was listed in a booklet prepared by the University of Georgia Department of Anthropology, but the archaeology professor had the wrong name and wrong location.  A test pit had been dug into a much smaller mound about two miles away.  

In 2016, I used high resolution ERSI satellite imagery to find seven mounds on the tributaries of the Amicalola River, including the Harben Mound . . . which was in pristine condition.  I live in this region and so was especially familiar with the geography, unlike the UGA professors.  The precise ERSI imagery enabled me to measure the dimensions of the Harben Mound and create a precise computer model.  I made contact with several persons in Dawson County, who had been associated with their historical society in order to tell them the importance of mound and adjacent Native American town site.  One resident nearby told me that there were three more mounds along Cochran Creek, which were concealed by the heavy tree foliage from satellite imagery.

In my letter, I stressed that this site could become a major tourist attraction for Dawson County and a financial gold mine for the property owner.  If the owner established a Historic Preservation Easement around the mound and village site, he, she or they would get 100% reduction in property taxes, yet still be able to use the land for agriculture, recreation or heritage tourism.  Having decades of experience with historic preservation, I carefully avoided any language, which might suggest that anyone was going to tell the owner “what to do with their private property.”

The Dawson County newspaper didn’t print the copy of the letter that I sent them.  None of the county commissioners responded to their letters.   Instead of introducing me to the property owner, some folks in Dawson County thought “we’uns are gonna show our support for the new prezident by putting this librul marxist eco-terrorist injun behind bars.”  For unknown reasons, both in Dawson and adjacent Pickens Counties, I have found that there many neo-nazi’s there think that anyone, who has a IQ over 75 and doesn’t observe Adolf Hitler’s Birthday, is an eco-terrorist . . . in addition to being a wussy queer.  They had someone, who resembled me, sneak onto the property of the mound and do something . . . not sure what.  However, it was made sure that they had eyewitnesses, who were certain that I had done it.  I had intentionally avoided being near the property, knowing how degenerate these people can be.  So nothing came of their efforts to show their support for the prezident.

However, in the meantime, I noticed that a progression of recent Google Maps satellite images showed that someone was digging into the mound with a front end loader.  The mound could well be destroyed before responsible people in Dawson County even knew it existed.  I sent am email letter to the Anthropology Department at the nearby University of North Georgia.  I told the professors that I had found the true location of the Harben Mound.  It was huge and in pristine condition, but being ravaged by pot collectors.  I have found that no one in the local or state government, even knew of its existence.   Someone at UGA had confused it with a small Woodland Period burial mound nearby.   I requested that they contact the property owner and explain the importance of this mound.  I suggested that it would make an ideal laboratory for their archaeology classes, but someone with some official capacity needed to contact the property owner, before it was too late.  I did mention that it was a very unusual five sided diamond with an elongated ramp, but made no mention of the “Maya thang.”  

This is the letter that I got back from the University of North Georgia.  The author had graduated three years before from a university in another part of the United States and has absolutely no academic background in Southeastern indigenous cultures.  His primary interest is ancient Greece.   Keep in mind that I had already been on five expeditions to Mexico before this guy was even born!  I have just as many years of college education as him, plus my mentors in archaeology were Ike Saporta, Arthur Kelly and Román Piña Chán . . . three intellectual giants of the 20th century.

The University of North Georgia missed a golden opportunity to preserve a major historic landmark, because of a young professor’s ego.

Thank you for your email and the link to the blog; however, your blog misleads any potential audience when it states that “the archaeology profession, the state government, regional planners and local officials have completely forgotten this Shangri La in the Blue Ridge mountains”, nor did you “rediscover” this mound.  9DW4 (Harvin Mound) is hardly forgotten as it is cataloged in the State site files and was investigated as recently as 1981.  You also state that the mound is “pyramidal shaped” yet also “diamond shaped” when in fact the mound is a truncated pyramid mound, something different from a pyramid or a diamond.  Finally, to compare the Harvin Mound to earthen structures from Central America is unwarranted and ignorant as it attempts to associate the populations who constructed this mound with ancient Central American populations despite a complete lack of evidence supporting such an association.  Furthermore, this disenfranchises ancient Native American populations who were responsible for the construction of this and many other mounds throughout Georgia and the Southeast.  Such baseless pseudo-scientific assumptions inaccurately portray the skill of qualified scientific archaeological inquiry, misrepresent ancient Native American and Central American cultures, and communicate inaccurate theories to the public regarding our shared cultural heritage.”

 

As you can see below,  the Harben Mound was pretty much destroyed after I wrote the letter to the University of North Georgia.  What could have been a major economic development opportunity for both the property owner and the county was trashed.   Moral degenerates, forever lost in their labyrinth of preadolescent mind games, saw the mound as an opportunity to pull someone down to their level of misery.  A sophomoric young anthropology professor in a little known anthropology department saw it as an opportunity to play the role of Mr. Bigshot.  It was obvious that he had quickly contacted someone in the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists for an explanation of the Harben Mound, but that person had quickly referenced the 1986 booklet, which had the name and the location of mound wrong.

Thinking the preservation of the Harben Mound more important than a verbal insult,  I wrote the professor back with the opening . . . “Let’s start over again . . .”  The book that you referenced to find out what the Harben Mound was, misspelled the archaeological site’s name.   Maybe where you grew up, you think its appropriate to talk down to Native Americans and Mexicans, but here in the Southeast you don’t talk down to Creeks . . . at least not twice . . . and especially ones, who have more education than you.”    I then explained the situation as I explained to the readers above.  The professor never responded.   Meanwhile, we have lost another major mound.  

It’s clear as a mountain stream, folks.  If you Native Americans around the Southeast are going to save our remaining heritage sites, you are going to have to do it yourself and do it smart.   The people currently running our society from below and above are ego-driven.  They don’t give a damn about anything or anybody, but their miserable little selves.

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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.

6 Comments

  1. theoldlibrary19@yahoo.co.uk'

    Hi Richard, I hope I can get this video in Crete. I shall look forward to seeing it.

    Reply
    • Yes, it will be available to the whole world. That is why we are switching to YouTube as our main educational format. Just bear with me. Once I learn all of the technology, I will be able to turn out programs quicker. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Duann@DuannKier.com'

    Remember there are lots of us out here who appreciate what you’re doing. . . .

    Reply
    • Thank you sir. I am convinced that there are plenty of people in Dawson County, who would have enthusiastically supported preservation of the Harben Mound and Town Site. However, they don’t seem to have any real political influence . . . or at least as in this case, the media and elected officials withheld knowledge of the Harben Mound so historic preservationist could not take positive actions. The mound undoubtedly contains burials so the excavations in 2017 were quite illegal . . . but no one was enforcing state and federal laws.

      Reply
  3. StANsiphone@me.com'

    I recently heard a prominent geologist say something to effect that, for a lack of better words, a generation of academia has to pass away before certain theories and narratives can be questioned. Until then, when evidence or facts come to light that disprove an accepted theory and narrative; they must be ignored, regarded as fake, or somehow twisted to fit and uphold the paradigm.
    The arrangont ignorance is a willful thing on their part. I would love to hear a so called authority on the Cherokee history in Georgia, explain how it is possible for the Cherokee to have “won” Creek lands in a battle and then “win” them yet again in the worlds largest ever game of cricket dodgeball. (I have no idea how cricket is played- I just thought that sounded funny) They can’t even agree on whether the towns name comes from battle ground or ball ground. I think it was likely a place where the indigenous peoples in the surrounding. area would meet to play some sort of game. But, I am fairly certain that it wasn’t the chosen spot of people that were living in North Carolina during the time of the long swamp creek mounds at Ball Ground. The bastardization of the origin of the word Nacoochee is another fine example of their willful ignorance.

    Reply
    • The first official map of Georgia, published in 1785, shows all of Northwest Georgia occupied by the Upper Creeks and Chickasaws. It shows the extreme northeast corner of the state occupied by Uchees, with maybe 2 or 3 tiny Cherokee villages mixed in.

      Reply

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