Richard Thornton | Apr 13, 2017 | 0
LIDAR images of a Native American Metropolis
The Nacoochee Valley Project
Archaeologists have for the most part ignored the Nacoochee Valley since archaeologist Robert Wauchope spent much of 1939 here. There are almost contiguous, contemporary village sites along the 18 miles of the Chattahoochee and Soque Rivers in this valley. I believe that it is one of the most important archaeological zones in North America. It was a fountainhead from which many cultural advancements sprang. So far I have found four terrace complexes and something in the range of 33 mounds, plus reservoirs, platforms and Itza style ball courts.
For the past eight years I have been studying the sites identified by Robert Wauchope, plus since 2012, studying the new sites revealed by LIDAR scans. I am currently working on a three dimensional computer virtual reality model of the central and western sections of the valley, based on recent LIDAR scans. When it is finished, POOF readers will be the first to see it.
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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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