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Mandan, Kansa or kin also lived on Ocmulgee River near Arawaks

Mandan, Kansa or kin also lived on Ocmulgee River near Arawaks


Coosa River Study Update

Brown’s Mount – Macon, GA

Brown’s Mount is a 500+ feet tall prominence, about seven miles south of Macon, GA.  It is one of the properties proposed for inclusion in the Ocmulgee National Historic Park.  Archaeologists associated with the National Park Service excavated structures on top of Brown’s Mount several times between the 1930s and 1990s.  Some of these structures were classified as “rectangular earth lodges.”

True earth lodges were impossible in the Southeast because there was no native grass capable of producing sod and no way to waterproof earthen roofs.  They were earthberm houses. However, this is significant because the early houses at Ocmulgee National Monument were large round cones like those in northern South America and the later houses were rectangular chiki’s, typical of southern Mesoamerica.

Brown’s Mount also contained large round houses, typical of the Arawaks of northern South America and western Cuba.  A large number of bowls and jars with owl motifs were found on Browns Mountain.  The archaeologists didn’t realize it, but they were quite similar to the pottery made by the Toa People of the Toa River Valley in Cuba.  The Toa considered owls to be sacred. 

Intimate cultural contact with the Toasi (They were members of the Creek Confederacy) might explain why Creeks hold owls to be sacred and guardians of towns.  It was said that especially righteous Creek elders opted to have their souls inhabit owls so they could protect their villages.  In contrast, virtually all other North American indigenous peoples are terrified of owls and consider them to be the harbingers of death.

Bullard Landing Mounds – Twiggs County, GA (9TW1)

In 1989 and 1990,  the LAMAR Institute and Ocmulgee Archaeological Society jointly excavated the Bullard Landing Mounds, which is 12 miles south of Macon. This site is also proposed for inclusion within the proposed Ocmulgee National Historic Park.  The site contains at least 28 mounds.  Most of these mounds were utilized as platforms to raise clusters of rectangular earthberm houses above the normal flood level of the Ocmulgee River.

Downstream from the people living on platformed, earthberm houses was the Province of Toa, which was visited by Hernando de Soto in the spring of 1540.  What is very interesting is that the Province of Toasi (Offspring or Descendants of Toa) was located downstream on the Coosa River from the Kansa earthberm house villages.  This means that three distinct ethnic groups,  Southern Siouan,  Arawak and Muskogean were living in close proximity and probably allies.  The “si” suffex is pure Muskogean grammar.  This is a continuation of what is seen throughout the Lower Southeast . . . two or more distinct ethnic groups assimilating into provinces. 

Mandan Migration Legend

The Mandan remember living on the west side of a large river, across from an advanced society that built mounds and practiced large scale agriculture.  That river is now called the Mississippi.  However, given that we have seen that in the past academicians have repeated “fed” details to ancient migration legends to make them match their own theories, it is possible that the Mandan were on the west side of the Ocmulgee River a thousand years ago . . . because the sophisticated mound builders were definitely on the east side.

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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.


    • Possibly . . . Most of the Mayas in northern Yucatan spoke Yucatec, not Itza. The Itza were from the highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala. They took over Chichen Itza, but not most of the peninsula.


        Richard, do you know what the word “Tohkok” means in Yucatec / Maya? The Itza people as you have stated, seem to have migrated North from Western Guatemala in the 800’s perhaps with some of the “Wari” people of Peru who later became known to the Aztecs (Mexica) as the Toltec’s? Some of these peoples migrated to the South East (Georgia / Alabama) as your research indicates from 800-1100’s AD. The Toltec’s (perhaps Wari?) seem to have been at Chichen Itza before Tollan (Tula) was built. Peru (Para)..Western Guatemala.. Chichen Itza…Tula, Mexico.. Moundville, Alabama (1150 AD)..”Waka” Macon, Ga.? Richard, Thanks for the articles.

        “The art and architecture from this period shows an interesting mix of Maya and Toltec styles. However, the recent re-dating of Chichen Itza’s decline (see below) indicates that Chichen Itza is largely a Late/Terminal Classic site, while Tula remains an Early Post classic site (thus reversing the direction of possible influence).” “Archaeological data now indicates that Chichen Itza fell by around 1000 C.E.”
        “The House of Mysterious Writing.” An earlier name of the building, according to a translation of glyphs in the Casa Colorada, is Wa(k)wak Puh Ak Na,”

        • Hey Mark

          I could not find that word in my dictionaries, but that’s a 1000 year old word. Think how much English has changed in the past 1000 years. Very few people in the USA could understand the English spoken a thousand years ago.


    Richard, there is a lot of highway and bridge construction going on right now in Macon, directly over the river and Ocgulmee Site. I am sure they have completed and filed the prerequisite archeological surveys. What is the best way to review them? Thank you Ed

    • Hey Ed

      The State DOT has an archaeology office. Sometimes the inhouse staff does the work. Sometimes they contract it out, but the state archaeologists keep the records. Their office before the Mega recession was at Charlie Brown Airport near Buzzard’s Roost Island and the Great Southwest Industrial Park. You can probably find their telephone number on the GDOT website.

      Thanks for being so alert.


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