Lies your archaeologist told you . . . Parte Quatre
How did contemporary archaeologists in Dixie get their strange ideas about the stone ruins at Track Rock Gap and many other locations in the Southeast, plus the hundreds of mounds in the Southern Highlands? Namely, that “the petroglyphs in North Georgia are graffiti, carved by bored Cherokee hunters” . . . the literally thousands of agricultural terraces in North Georgia “were platforms, built by the Cherokees to host sacred dances” . . . and the thousands of stone cairns in the Southern Highlands “were the burial places of great Cherokee chiefs.” Most of their writings merely cite their contemporary buddies as the sources of these non-facts. That is about as reliable as you hiring me to be the Architect of a 100,000 seat sports stadium. At least most architects have the sense to not discuss in public subjects for which they have no qualifications. Such is not the case among the Southeast’s archaeologists, it seems. While I was laying around to get over the lightening damage to my body, I did a lot of reading. The answer will surprise you. I also, on pretty days, did some driving and found yet another terrace complex. This one you can see from Georgia Highway 255, directly across from Sunburst Stables, between Sautee and Batesville. Most of the terraces apparently had log retaining walls, but there are stone ruins at the top of the mountain slope. It has the exact same orientation as Track Rock Gap.
A prevailing heresy I find in virtually all archaeological reports from the Southeast, except South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida and Virginia, is an assumption that signal ethnic groups occupied vast swaths of territory. All the early archaeologists also made this mistake. From the beginning, they refused to look at historical maps or learn the Creek, Itza Maya, Panoan and Arawak languages. They assumed and still assume that a particular style of pottery or projectile point indicated a single ethnic group. Numerous eyewitness accounts from the colonial period tell us that the Creek, Apalache or Itza-speaking elite lived in separate towns and spoke different languages than the commoners. This is specifically stated in the De Soto Chronicles and the ten chapters on present day Georgia that Charles de Rochefort put into his 1658 book. Thus, all the pottery from the area of western North Carolina that was occupied by Shawnee, Uchee and Coweta Creeks until taken over by Great Britain in 1764 is always labeled Pisgah Phase or Qualla Phase Cherokee Pottery. As has been the case for many decades, the problem is that Gringo archaeologists define “facts” via a feudal system of competing personality cults.
After going around in circles with 21st and late 20th century academicians quoting each other as references, I finally came down to names of three persons from the late 19th century and early 20th century, who were originally named in the 1970s as the authorities for the ludicrous ideas, described in the introductory paragraph. They were ethnologist-archaeologist James Mooney, archaeologist Cyrus Thomas and archaeologist George Heye. All three had something in common. Although worshiped as saints by contemporary archaeologists, none of these gentlemen had any academic qualifications, whatsoever, for their chosen profession. They were quite intelligent men, but lacking a broad education and immersion into all Native cultures, they repeatedly made mistakes . . . particularly in the Southeast, where we had a dense, multi-ethnic population prior to European Invasion.
Cyrus Thomas (1825-1910) was a Tennessee politician, who stayed loyal to the Union, and therefore was rewarded during Reconstruction by progressively more important political appointments by Republican administrations. Before the Civil War, he attended a village school in NE Tennessee then Jonesborough Academy in Jonesboro, TN, but did not graduate. Nevertheless, he was later able to pass the Bar Exam and practice law then later became a Lutheran minister for awhile. He then became a self-taught entomologist (insect expert) and accompanied the Hayden Expedition in 1869 to the Rocky Mountains as its assistant entomologist. Upon returning back East from the 1871 Hayden Expedition was appointed as a full professor at Southern Illinois University and then Chief Entomologist for the State of Indiana. At this time, 1882, he was appointed Chief Archaeologist to the United States Bureau of American Ethnology. How his self-taught knowledge on insects transcended into being the nation’s most influential archaeologist is a matter of conjecture. Throughout the 1880s, Thomas headed the Bureau of Ethnology’s Mound Excavation Program, whose objective was to prove that the mounds in the Eastern United States were built by Native Americans. In his professional writings, Thomas took this objective a step farther by trying to prove his belief that the Adena, Hopewell and Southern Highlands Mounds were built by the Cherokees. Thus, he is always cited as a reference when contemporary Cherokee spokespersons claim that the Cherokees built most of the mounds in the Southeast and Midwest.
James Mooney (1861-1921) is the name most commonly referenced by contemporary archaeologists, when they interpreted Native American sites in the Southern Highlands. He was a first generation Irish-American from Indiana, who highest educational level was the 12th grade of public high school. Mooney was fascinated by American Indian cultures and read everything he could on the subject after graduation from high school. After graduating from high school in 1878, Mooney taught public school for one year, and then joined the staff of the Richmond Palladium. Charles Stewart Parnell, who toured the United States in late 1879 on behalf of the newly formed National Land League of Ireland, stirred Mooney’s passion and idealism. Mooney helped organize a local Richmond chapter of the Land League and served as its first secretary. When the English Parliament passed land reform measures shortly thereafter, much of the original enthusiasm for the league dissipated. Mooney, late in 1884 tried to gain employment at the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of Ethnology (later renamed the Bureau of American Ethnology), which had been founded in 1879 to organize anthropological knowledge in the United States and provide the national government with solutions to the vexing “Indian problem.” His novel approach of studying Native Cultures was to actually live among them and learn their language and cultural history. He remained employed by the Smithsonian Institute until 1921. Mooney is best known for his book, Myths of the Cherokees, which was published by the US Government Printing Office in 1900. A significant portion of the book, however, is NOT composed of myths of the Cherokees, but rather Mooney’s version of the history of the Southern Highlands . . . from the perspective of late 19th century Cherokees in western North Carolina and Tennessee historian-politician, John Haywood.
George Heye (1974-1957) was a wealthy mining industry baron in New York City, who developed his interest in archaeology to a semi-professional obsession. He was the founder of the Heye Museum, which became the American Museum of Natural History. It was either Heye or professional archaeologists, employed by Heye, who excavated the famous Nacoochee Mound near Helen, GA and the Peachtree Mound near Murphy, NC.
In 1873, pioneer Georgia archaeologists, Charles C. Jones, Jr, had described the artifacts at the Nacoochee Mound as being very similar to those found at Creeks towns near Macon and Columbus. In 1915, none of Heye’s team had prior experience in either Georgia or the Southern Appalachians. Heye stated in his report that James Mooney had determined that all the pottery associated with mounds in the Southern Appalachians were created by the Cherokees. This statement is replicated in a legion of 20th and 21st century archaeology books. We will tell you what Mooney actually said later in the article Heye also made this blanket statement in regard to the pottery at the Nacoochee and Peachtree Mounds: “This ware is of the typical Southern Appalachian form and style, in no particular respect different from that of other pottery made by the Cherokee in early times.” The fact is that the pottery at the Nacoochee and Peachtree Mounds is entirely different that 18th century Cherokee pottery and even different from the 18th century Shawnee pottery in the Tuckasegee River Basin farther east in North Carolina and the Little Tennessee River Basin, farther north.
The reference citation in Heye’s Report on the Nacoochee Mound was for: W. H. Holmes, Aboriginal Pottery of Eastern United States, Fifteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, 1903. Unlike what appears to be virtually every member of the archaeology profession today, I downloaded a copy of Holmes’ report and actually read it. Holmes stated just the opposite of what Heye said, when discussing Southern Appalachian pottery. He actually wrote this in regard to the “Mound Builders” pottery in western North Carolina, Tennessee and Northern Georgia: “Of these groups the Muskogeans probably have the best claim to authorship of this ware.” p. 151. George Heye lied.
William Henry Holmes (1846-1933) during the late 1800s and first half of the 20th century was considered the nation’s leading expert on Native American ceramics. Unlike Cyrus Thomas and James Mooney, he did have some college education in geology, anthropology, biology and art history . . . but did not graduate. He developed his knowledge of art history and ceramics after college to the point by the late 1860s that he was considered an expert on the subject. Along with Cyrus Thomas, he was on the 1871 Hayden Expedition, but went on several more archaeological expeditions throughout the 1870s. There is no doubt that by 1901, when he wrote the report on American Indian pottery for the Smithsonian Institute, he was the most professionally qualified archaeologist in the United States. Look at his bio!
After the Hayden Survey was absorbed into the U.S. Geological Survey in 1879, Holmes went to Munich, Germany, to further his art studies under Frank Duveneck and to take lessons in “museum making” from Adolphe B. Meyer of Dresden’s Anthropology Museum. On Holmes’s return to the U.S., he was hired by the Geological Survey and assigned to Clarence Dutton as a geologist and illustrator. Holmes illustrated the atlas for Dutton’s Tertiary History of the Grand Canyon District (1882); his triptych panorama of the Grand Canyon from Point Sublime is a masterpiece of American scientific illustration. He was also a noted mountain climber, and a peak in Yellowstone National Park — Mount Holmes — was named in his honor. In 1875, Holmes began studying the remains of the Ancestral Pueblo culture in the San Juan River region of Utah. His models of ancient Indian ruins were a sensation at the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia. Holmes became particularly interested in prehistoric pottery and shell art, producing the published works of “Art in Shell of the American Indians (1883)” and “Pottery of the Ancient Pueblos (1886)”. He expanded these studies to include textiles, and he became well known as an expert in both ancient and existing arts produced by Native Americans of the Southwest. In 1889 he discovered and reported Indian petroglyphs in central West Virginia.
When asked to examine the pottery of the Adena and Hopewell Cultures in the Ohio Valley and compare it to samples of pottery in the Southeast, Holmes did not tell Cyrus Thomas what he wanted to hear. Holmes saw no connection between 18th century Cherokee pottery and the Pre-Colonial Period ceramics of Ohio and the Southeast. The Cherokee pottery might have been made from the same clay as that produced by earlier peoples, but they were from entirely different cultural traditions. Apparently, in the 1970s North Carolina archaeology professors, working on the “Cherokee History Project” ignored Holmes’ report and instead quoted the misquotes made by George Heye as an excuse to label “Pisgah Period” and “Early Qualla Period” ceramics as being made by the Cherokees.
Concealment . . . “The History of the Cherokee People” by Principal Chief Charles Hicks
In 1826 and early 1827, Cherokee Principal Chief Charles Hicks wrote eight long letters to the newly elected President of the National Council, John Ross, concerning the history of the Cherokee People. It is a very different history than told to the public today. The Cherokees once had detailed migration legends, but by 1826 had forgotten them. These letters really only cover the recent history of the Cherokees after they arrived in the South, because even by then, they had forgotten where they came from. For many decades, these letters were in the possession of the Knoxville, TN Public Library System. Shortly after the “New Cherokee History” was released to the public in the 1970s by the State of North Carolina, the Knoxville Library System quietly SOLD these priceless letters to the Newberry Research Library in Chicago, IL. The obvious purpose was to get them away from the eyes of Southeastern researchers and news reporters. I hope to complete the transcription and publish the eight letters in early 2020.
I have obtained high resolution photographs of the original letters and was in the process of transcribing them, when the opportunity arose in the spring of 2018 for me to get out of that rat-infested hovel in Lumpkin County. I was becoming extremely ill from the polluted water in the well and the hundred plus rats living in the basement and walls. Some one had dumped dead animals in the well casing. One of my dogs had been poisoned by coyote bait and there were repeated efforts to wreck my car by neo-Nazi’s. One attempt left my car stranded on the side of a highway in Hart County, while on my way to buy a replacement puppy. No one called 911, because there was no collision. Back in the early 1990s, the FBI had sent me to a “survival” driving school. That saved my life! Nevertheless, while friendly neighbors were helping me get the car on the road, 12, yes twelve local and state law enforcement vehicles showed up. The officers were puzzled why I was not harmed and the vehicle had broken no laws. Yes, it was time to get the heck outa Dodge.
There is very little in these letters, which is compatible with the current version of Cherokee history being promulgated by tribal bureaucrats and North Carolina academicians. Hicks stated that the Cherokees arrived on the western edge of the Southern Appalachians about the same time that Charleston was founded. He went on to say that the “mound builders” in the North Carolina Mountains had once been very numerous, but had been severely weakened by a series of plagues. He said that the Cherokees killed or drove off the mound builders, burned their temples and constructed Cherokee town houses (council houses) on top of the mounds. It is curious that Hicks distinguished between the Creeks and Uchee, who lived in Tennessee and the tip of North Carolina in the 1700s and the “mound builders.”
There are several statements in the Hicks letters, which are also lies. He said that the Cherokees occupied all the land in Tennessee south to the Hiwassee River for a century before the Creek-Cherokee War broke out in 1716. Both French and English maps from 1711 and 1715 show a French fort and two Upper Creek villages on the island at the intersection of the Little Tennessee and Tennessee Rivers. The maps show the Little Tennessee and Upper Tennessee Rivers to be occupied by Kusate (Upper Creek), Koasati towns, Tokahre-Uchee and Shawnee towns all the way to the French Broad River. The Tennessee was then named the Cusatee River. Nevertheless, Hicks’ version of Cherokee history was far more accurate than what is being taught public school students today.
Blatant misrepresentations of James Mooney’s writings
You would think that James Mooney was a full-blooded Cherokee elder from the frequency of his name appearing in “Cherokee History” books. One gets the impression that it is carried around like the Holy Bible . . . but like the Holy Bible, is rarely read in its entirety. What his disciples are carrying their arms is 1995 compilation by Dover Publications of all of Mooney’s Bureau of Ethnology reports . . . “slightly modified and rearranged.” The “slightly” refers to a bogus map of the Cherokee Nation, which shows the Cherokees always occupying all of Tennessee and Kentucky, western Virginia, West Virginia, all of northern Alabama and Georgia, western North Carolina and a huge chunk of South Carolina, where the Cherokees never lived. All of the Chickasaw’s territory in 1784, is labeled Cherokee.
Mooney correctly stated that the Chickasaws won their long war with the Cherokees in 1768. He stated that the Cherokees would not attempt to enter Chickasaw territory in Northeast Alabama, until it was given to the Cherokees in the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell Plantation. On the other hand, Mooney matter-of-factly mentioned, without giving a source, the fictional battle of Taliwa in North Georgia during 1755, where the Cherokees supposedly conquered all of North Georgia down to Atlanta (page 38). This fairy tale was contrived by a distant cousin of Nancy Ward, four years after her death. However, Mooney was passed on this tale by some Cherokee elders in Qualla, NC. Actually, the Cherokees were catastrophically defeated by the Coweta Creeks in the autumn of 1754 and signed a surrender treaty that December. John Mitchell’s 1755 Map of North Carolina labels a broad swath of Northeast Georgia and far Western North Carolina as “Deserted Cherokee Settlements” . . . hardly the case, if they had just conquered all of North Georgia. LOL
- In the initial chapter of his book, Mooney speculated on the early history of the Cherokees. He relied heavily on a book, published by Tennessee jurist and politician, John Haywood, which is titled, The Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee (1823). From pages 16 thought 20, he provided linguistic evidence that the Cherokees were a northern tribe, speaking a Algonquian dialect. He equated them to the Rickohockens in southwestern Virginia. Several books, published by “Cherokee” or “Wannabe” authors, cite Mooney as saying that the Cherokees have always lived in the Southern Highlands. He never said this.
- On pages 20-22, Mooney provided substantial evidence that the Cherokees did not build the mounds and stone structures in the Southern Highlands. He mentioned Cyrus Thomas’s belief that the Cherokees built the Adena and Hopewell Culture Mounds. However, he countered Thomas’s belief with the statements by Cherokee elders, who said that even when they were migrating southward through Ohio and West Virginia, the mounds looked like they do today and that they had no idea, who built the mounds in either the North or the Southeast. Virtually all books, written by contemporary archaeologists and academicians from North Carolina . . . and some from Georgia and Tennessee . . . quote this very same book as saying that Mooney had determined that the mounds in North Carolina and North Georgia were built by the Cherokees. It is a lie.
- In that same section, and in the next chapter, Mooney stated that very few American Indian geographical place names in the mountains of North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee seem to have any meaning in any of the four known Cherokee dialects. Well . . . yes . . . both rivers on the North Carolina Cherokee Reservation are Creek words. There is a Cherokee name for the Oconaluftee River, but it is only used today by a few Cherokees in remote communities. For that reason, Mooney speculated that all of the Southern Highlands were originally occupied by the “Creeks” . . . as if they were one ethnic group. Actually, the region was jointly occupied by Uchee, Itsate Creeks (Itza Mayas) from southern Mexico, Panoans from Peru, Chiska from Peru, Southern Arawaks from Peru, Kusate-Creeks, Tuskegee Creeks, Tokahsi-Creeks from western Veracruz, Mexico, Tamatli from Veracruz, Apalache-Creeks from Peru, Soque (Sautee) from Southern Mexico, Muskogee-speaking Creeks, Chickasaw, Kansa from North Georgia and South Carolina, Shawnee and lord knows who else. These statements are NEVER included in Cherokee histories, because the Cherokees now claim to have lived in Western North Carolina for 12,000 years. Mooney even mentioned that the original name for New Echota was Gansa-gi, but it never dawned on him that Gansa-gi is the Cherokee name for the Kansa People.
- On pages 25 through 29, Mooney discussed the exploration of the Southern Highlands by the Spanish. He rolled off the Creek or Itza Maya names of towns visited by De Soto or Pardo, yet he inexplicably called them Cherokee towns. They were the same words, which in an earlier section of the chapter, he listed as not being Cherokee towns. Mooney made no effort to learn the Creek languages or heaven forbid, the languages of eastern and southern Mexico, where many Creek tribes originated. A legion of “Cherokee history” books liberally quote Mooney as stating that Chiliqui or Chalaqui were attempts by the Spanish to pronounce the Cherokee’s name. No they are not. Chiliqui is the Totonac, Itza Maya and Itsate Creek word for “barbarian.” Chalaqui is he Muskogee-Creek word for barbarian. Chorakee is the Muskogee-Creek word for a splinter group and probably only originally applied to the eight Creek-speaking villages at the head of the Savannah River, which later were labeled as “Lower Cherokees”. All of the surviving Lower Cherokee village names and words are Itsate-Creek words!
- Mooney discussed the century of Spanish mining and colonization activities in the Southern Highlands as a matter of fact on page 29. He is seldom quoted on this opinion because it conflicts with what archaeologists learned in school. On the other hand, he was completely ignorant of the multiple and detailed French descriptions of the interior of the Southeastern United States prior to the arrival of the Cherokees in the region during the 1690s. In 1658, Charles de Rochefort devoted ten chapters of his famous book on the region that is now Georgia, eastern Alabama and western North Carolina. His book is by far the most detailed descriptions that we have of the “Creek” Indians prior to the book by James Adair, published in 1775, when their culture had changed radically. De Rochefort made no mention of either Cherokees or the Rickohockens. The ignorance of Southeastern academicians toward French eyewitness descriptions continues to this day.
Plagiarism at Track Rock Gap
James Mooney was contemptuous of the petroglyphs and stone ruins at Track Rock Gap near Blairsville, GA. He did sketch a few of the glyphs and included them in his book. He briefly described the site on pages 418 and 419. Mooney speculated that most of the rock carvings were too old to have been made by the Cherokees, but also dismissed them as being meaningless marks by resting hunters. Mooney was also dismissive of Charles C. Jones, Jr.’s description of massive stone ruins nearby, claiming that Jones was never there. The opposite is the truth. Mooney never explored the half square mile archaeological zone which rises 800 feet up the mountainside. Mooney did include an excerpt of a description of the petroglyphs made by someone named Stephenson in 1834. He labeled the account, “florid.”
I followed the evidence provided and eventually discovered the entire report by Dr. William H. Stephenson . . . newly appointed director of the US Mint at Dahlonega. Stephenson had no clue of what he was looking at, but at least he was a good writer and provided some detailed descriptions. Here is what shocked me, though. There is little difference in Stephenson’s interpretation of the petroglyphs and stone ruins versus the two reports made to the US Forrest Service by “professional archaeologists” in 2000 and 2001. Sections of paragraphs and entire sentences were “cut and pasted.” What was presented as the sophisticated analysis by learned archaeologists was merely the guesswork of a tourist from Virginia in 1834 . . . with no credit given the tourist. Both documents use the term, “Graffiti by bored Cherokee hunters.”
I have been able to obtain a copy of the full report by Dr. William H. Stephenson. Much of it is interesting because it describes what the Georgia Mountains looked like during the five decades of the Cherokee Nation. They were mostly in a natural state with a few inhabitants, who did not have Cherokee names. In an upcoming edition of “The America’s Revealed” you will be able to compare what Stephenson wrote in 1834 to what professional archaeologists submitted to the United States Forestry Service in the first years of the 21st century . . . and called the product of their highly skilled, professional investigation. Remember, your tax money paid for this malarkey.
As for the “graffiti carved by bored Cherokee hunters” . . . there are four Itza Maya glyphs carved over much older the glyphs at Track Rock Gap. Most of the older glyphs can be found on a rock outcrop in Nyköping, Sweden. The Nyköping Petroglyphs have been dated to 2000 BC. We are finding many more Nyköping style petroglyphs in Northeast Georgia. They represent the Bronze Age writing system of Scandinavia. What I cannot explain however, is why some of the most important Maya glyphs were being carved on a rock face in Sweden, 2,400 years earlier. The truth is out there, but it is awfully durn hard to find it these days in US Forest Service-funded archaeological studies.
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