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Judaculla Rock . . . the meaning of these petroglyphs is solved by linguistics and some knowledge of history elsewhere

Judaculla Rock . . . the meaning of these petroglyphs is solved by linguistics and some knowledge of history elsewhere


GPS Coordinates:  Latitude – 35°18’04.4″N ~ Longitude – 83°06’36.6″W

There is a boulder in the Tuckasegee River Basin of the North Carolina Mountains, which contains more symbols than any petroglyphic site in the eastern United States.  A total of 1,548 symbols have been counted on the soapstone boulder.  There are also several hemispherical scars where soapstone bowls were long ago extracted from the boulder. Some of the symbols are actually carved into the bowl-shaped scars.

For over two centuries, the Judaculla Rock was described as a mystery.  No one knew who carved  the symbols, when they carved them or what they meant.  That all changed a decade ago, when North Carolina archaeologists announced that their Cherokees carved the symbols and that the boulder was a map of the Cherokee Nation.  Oh really?   The Cherokees don’t even know what Judaculla means and those symbols appear in several other parts of the world, where the Cherokees never lived.   Guess they didn’t know that, did they?

It is a problem that has plagued the archaeology profession in the Southeastern United States since day one . . . that is . . . practicing archaeology in the absence of anthropology.  In all other parts of the globe, archaeologists consider it mandatory to first learn the languages and cultural history of the people, who lived on the site that they are excavating, before interpreting what was found in that site.  In other words, just saying “Judaculla is an ancient Cherokee word, whose meaning has been forgotten” just doesn’t cut it in England, Mexico, Ireland, France, Peru, Scandinavia, Russia, China, Colombia, Israel, Japan, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Egypt or Australia. First, though, POOF will compare some petroglyphs around the world.


The Judaculla Rock primarily appears to be hundreds of dots encased with polygons.  Acid rain has eroded the symbols since this photo was taken.


Not knowing what the symbols mean, most artists copy them imperfectly and leave out smaller symbols.  This one is typical of what’s on the web. It left out some astronomical symbols and drew the others imprecisely. Many of the astronomical symbols appear on the Forsyth and Tugaloo Petroglyphs in Georgia . Below is another artist’s interpretation.


This well-executed painting by an unknown artist, picks up most of the dots, but not the polygonal matrix.

Look at the crab-like figure on the lower left of the boulder.  Now look at the Swedish Bronze Age symbol for an eclipse below.


Most of these Swedish Bronze Age symbols can be found on the Judaculla, Tugaloo (Georgia) or Track Rock (Georgia) petroglyphs.


The Forsyth Petroglyphic Boulder in Metro Atlanta contains symbols found on the Judaculla Rock.


The archaeologists, who examined the Judaculla Rock, apparently believe that the Cherokees lived in all these places and all these time periods.


The Great Sun symbol appears on the petroglyphs near Nyköping, Sweden on the Baltic Sea and has been dated to 2000 BC.  

Cherokee interpretation of the Judaculla Rock

Cherokee legends link Judaculla (also known as Tuli-kula/Yuthakullah/Tsulʻkalu) to their slant-eyed Master-of-Game Giant with the surrounding landscape, including land forms, rivers, and Indian towns.  This tradition has been elaborated on in recent years by academicians and anthropologists employed by the Eastern Band of Cherokees or the State of North Carolina.  The most common version of the story, told today, was a that a great slant eyed giant arrived from across the Pacific Ocean to the Tuckasegee River Valley.  Until about 15 years ago, the legend had him living there, when the Cherokees arrived.  Now the legend told tourists is that the Cherokees had always lived in the Tucksegee River Valley and thatthe Judaculla Giant arrived many centuries ago.  He carved the Judaculla Rock as a map to acquaint them with their new homeland.

For the record . . . the South Carolina Colonial Archives contains a report from 1745,  transmitted from the Cherokees via an Indian trader to the Royal governor.  The report states that the Cherokees explored the Upper Tuckasegee River Valley for the first time that year.  They encountered Europeans with tan skins like the Cherokees, but the men were hairy all over their bodies and wore long beards.  All the families spoke a dialect of Spanish.  Their houses were built out of logs, but had arched windows.  The Cherokees said that these strangers “worshiped a book.”   There was no mention in the report about any giants living near Sylva or Cullowhee.

Let’s take a look at the meaning of those words . . .

Tuli-kula is the Cherokee-nization of the original Itsate Creek name of a large proto-Creek town, where Western North Carolina University is now located.  The original Itstate words are Tula-Kula, which mean “Town of Kula.”   See below for the explanation of Kula.

Yuthakullah is a very interesting pronunciation.  It is how someone speaking Old Anglo-Saxon or Gamla Norsk (Old Norwegian) would pronounce Judaculla (Yuđakulla).  How a Viking Age pronunciation of a word would appear in the North Carolina Mountains is anyone’s guess.

Both the Germanic Scandinavians and the Gaelic Irish had traditions that their lands were formerly occupied by giants.  There could be a connection between these traditions and actual tall human aborigines.

Etymology of nearby Creek geographical names

Tuckasegee – This is the Anglicization of the Muskogee Creek word, Tokahsi-gi, which means “Descendants of the Freckled Ones – People.  The Tokahle or Tokahsi became one of the most powerful divisions of the Creek Confederacy after moving south in to the warmer climate of western Georgia and eastern Alabama. Their new capital was Tokahpasi (Tuckabatchee) on the Tallapoosa River.  One of their bands migrated to northeastern Florida in the 1700s and became a core member of the Seminole Alliance.  Spanish archives call these people, the Toque, while British settlers called them the Tokee.

The Tokahle men were known among the Creeks as being brawny giants.  This is highly significant, since according to the De Soto Chronicles, the Creek men at the time of European contact, averaged a foot taller than Spaniards. Their brawniness could well be the origin of the Cherokee legend about “Judaculla the Giant.”

The capital and the province in which the Tokahle lived during pre-Spanish contact times, was named Kulla or Kura.  See below for the etymology of Kulla. The capital was located where Cullawhee, NC now sits.  Cullawhee is the Anglicization of a hybrid word, which had a Creek tribal name as its root, which was attached to a Cherokee suffix meaning “place of.”    The Cherokee suffix “yi” is equivalent to the Itza Maya and Itsate Creek suffix, pa, and the Muskogee Creek suffix, fa.

Juda – This is the Anglicization of the Cherokee-nization of the Muskogee-Creek word, sutv . . . pronounced jzhü – dä  by Muskogees and Cherokees.   Cherokees and Muskogee Creeks pronounce a Creek T as a D.  Thus, “Thank you”  in Creek, mvto, sounds like Mahdo in Muskogee and Cherokee, but mahto, in Georgia and Florida Creek languages.  Itstate and Apalache Creeks pronounce a T very similarly to an English T.

Culla – This is the Anglicization of the Proto-Creek town and province in North Carolina named Kura.  Muskogeans roll their R’s so hard that most speakers of European languages, other than Spanish, write the R down as an L.  The correct spelling survives as the name of a mountain in Northeast Georgia – Currahee.   The capital of Kura was where Western North Carolina University is now located.  Three large mounds were bulldozed there in the 1970s to build WCU’s administration building.

A solar system in the sky over Kura

In other words, Judaculla means “The Sky Over the Province of Kura.”   This explains why there are hundreds of pecked dots on the boulder.   They are the millions of stars in the background of brighter stars and galaxies, which appeared to humans to be constellations.  Evidently, the symbols super-imposed over the matrix of stars represent constellations . . . which the people of Kura assumed to be other provinces of extraterrestrial people with their own sun lords. 

The Creeks were one of the few pre-industrial cultures in the world, who believed that the Earth was just one planet among many, in which humanoid peoples lived.  This belief derived from another tradition that remembered past frequent visitors from other solar systems and galaxies.  Their best buddies were extremely tall humanoids from a solar system in the Pleiades Constellation.  According to this legend, these “giants” built at least three “star gates” on the Great Spiral Mound at Ocmulgee National Monument, the Great Round Mound at Rembert Mounds near Elberton, GA and in the Nacoochee Valley.   Some priests of the Creek Wind Clan used the star gates to visit the home planet of their super-sized buddies, but it was a dangerous journey for homo sapiens.  Several priests returned dead or horribly deformed in the star gates.


The Truth is out there somewhere!



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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.



    Richard, Another interesting article but what is the meaning of the Native word “Kura”? These Giants were most likely the “Nephilim” species of man that lived here in the ancient days and perhaps were also the South American (Argentina) Giant people that had some related members in the North America? 1000’s of reports by average folks finding skeletons 7.5-10 Ft. tall in this country mostly not reported these days in the mass media. DNA research in plants, insects, man species has continued for many years and has been sent all over the world by our science departments of this Government for one reason or another. I have no reason not to believe in what the Torah states….there were Giants species of man and were well reported living in the South in the 15 century.

    • I think that it means people. I don’t think that these are the “Nephilim” but whereas most Creeks were tall and lanky, the Tokahle Creeks were more muscular and perhaps ran around 6’6″. The Tokahle had freckles, but otherwise had Native American features. You can look at paintings of them from the 1700s. They are quite brawny.


        Richard, I just don’t know as the Universities in this country won’t study the Giant people or admit they existed. The average Native male in the South were noted as “a head taller” than the tallest euro in the early 15th century (Natives 6.6-6.8? Ft) but among them were the Giants that were even taller. The Tokah people most likely were a mix of tall American Natives and Gaul/ Nordic peoples that started around 100-200 AD… that was caused by the Roman conquest of Brittan and those Amorite peoples had the large cargo ships to cross the Atlantic. The “black Irish” fishermen seem to have some relatives in Georgia (The Yuchi) and they could have guided them there. That could explain the Bronze weapons that a few Native peoples knew how to make but of course still needed the tin metal to make that Bronze weapons found being mined in S. Carolina. Gaul/ Gaelic words being used by Native people living in Georgia/ S.C, as you have discovered, seems to indicate Gaul /Gaelic migrations to the Carolinas in the past.

        • That’s what I am thinking too. The Duhare were described as “giants” by the Spanish. They were definitely Osrey (Deer People) from Ireland. As for the Uchee. I think their origins were in Sweden and they were pushed out of southern Sweden by the Germanic Iron Age peoples, who dominate Scandinavia today. They then moved to the British Isles and were pushed westward by the Britains. There is just no difference in appearance between the Sea Sami in northwestern Norway and the Georgia Uchee. Georgia Uchee are showing up with Sami, Basque and Black Irish DNA markers.


    I am thinking that the descriptors “Great Sun” and “Sun Lord” are right on the money here. To me these images are precisely what we would witness on earth from a massive solar storm event.

    Take the first known recorded sunspot diagram made by John of Worchester on Saturday December 8th 1128. Five days later on December 13th 1128 in Korea they observed a “red vapour that soared and filled the sky” indicative of the expected lags between ‘solar storms’ and auroral events. The enlarging effect from the use of a camera obscura (pinhole camera/darkroom) which have been in use for thousands of years, would have allowed him to examine the solar surface in great detail.

    John of Worchester’s depiction of the 1128 ‘sun spots’ below …

    And looking extremely carefully you will find EVERY feature of his work with the exception of the center feature replicated at Avebury henge sometime during the 3rd millennium B.C. …

    Avebury like Stonehenge being part of a larger complex with a serpentine motif.


    • Actually, that is the names of those symbols in Creek . . . so it is more than on the money. My point was that unlike archaeologists in the rest of the world, Dixie archaeologists have ignored the linguistic and cultural evidence of the past and substituted speculations skewed by Cherokee casino money.

      I have no disagreement with anything you wrote. It is very hard to get Gringo academicians, however, to look at the big picture.


        We really need more sites like yours that are not afraid to take the old “big picture” jigsaw puzzle apart and attempt to reassemble the pieces in new ways without being bound by the need to be politically or academically ‘correct’. There are so many gaping holes in the old theories that with the constant trickle of new m-DNA evidence coming in eventually the academic community will be forced to reassess and revise history anyway.

        And when that day arrives you can expect one of those same Gringo academics to win a Nobel prize based on your work lol!

        On a side note…

        I noticed that some anomalous m-DNA markers found in Cherokee populations also bears some strong profile resemblance to pure ancient Berber and Phoenician haplogroups. The Greek story of the Phoenicians circumnavigating Africa with a fleet of 300 ships coupled with the presence of gold on the west coast and it’s close proximity to South America got me thinking. 2,700 kilometers with a prevailing westerly current of 3 km/h coupled with strong following winds could land an unfortunate crew there in 2 to 3 weeks. Crews would be exclusively male so no m-DNA would be likely be found but if such passages were routinely made then I thought perhaps evidence might be found in the Azores and Canary Islands on the much longer return trips.

        Interesting step pyramids found in Tenerife in the Canary Islands… (and on Mauritius and Sicily for that matter)

        The native population has been there since 1000BC and perhaps much earlier. Often lived in conical shaped houses. They were tall, some fair haired and skinned with freckled complexions also found in mainland Berber populations. Interesting article on the genetics in Wiki…

        And don’t forget to check out the petroglyphs there either…

        Thank you for your articles Richard… they are always a pleasure to read.

        • The Middle Eastern and North African DNA in Cherokees is from Sephardic Jewish colonists in North Georgia, western North Carolina and NE Tennessee, who were there a hundred years before the Cherokees arrived. Gabriel Arthur in his 1674 journey to NE Tennessee mentioned seeing them several times in his journal, but made no mention of the Cherokees.


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