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Link between Creek Mounds to Maya Math

International team of anthropologists link pentagonal Creek mounds to Maya math

A documentary for public television is currently being filmed in Georgia that explores the movements between South America, Mesoamerica and the Southeast of domesticated plants, cultural ideas and people. The project began in December 2012 at the ruins of the Maya city of Chichen Itza at the time of the recycling of the Maya calendar.

The program is unique because participants include a team of scholars from Europe, South America and North America. One of the participants worked with archaeologist Johannes Loubser on a site in South America. Loubser briefly surveyed the Track Rock Gap terrace complex in the Georgia Mountains during 2001.

Before, during and after filming segments the team interacts, often creating the script as filming progresses. By sharing knowledge gained from their own professional experiences, new understandings of mankind’s past develop.

On April 3, 2013 the cast visited several archaeological sites in Georgia’s famous Nacoochee Valley. It is located at the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River between the remnants of ancient volcanoes and the Blue Ridge Mountains. All of those invited to that particular day’s filming met first for lunch at the Unicoi State Park Lodge at Anna Ruby Falls. Several languages (including Canadian, eh?) floated back and forth across the long dinner table. It was here, that film director, Antara Brandner, finalized the questions to be asked the team in front of the camera.

Much of the other conversation at the luncheon focused on the visit by some of the group to the nearby Track Rock terrace complex ruins during the previous week. They complained about the many trees that had been cut down by the U.S. Forest Service to block the trail. An archaeologist from Europe asked the group why the United States government is allowing the ruins to be destroyed by trees and vines growing up within the ancient stone walls. One of the diners, who is on a United Nations commission, suggested that mentioning the on-going travesty before the United Nations might humiliate officials in Washington, DC into taking action.

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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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