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New Video: Exploration of the Soque River Basin

New Video:   Exploration of the Soque River Basin


In 1886, Cyrus Thomas, Chief Archaeologist for the Smithsonian Institute and his foreman, John P. Rogan, journeyed by horseback up into a rugged section of the mountains in the northeastern part of the State of Georgia . . . on the trail of rumors. While probing mounds in the Nacoochee Valley, Thomas had been told by local families that there were mysterious stone and earthen ruins around the villages of Soquee and Sautee. The postmaster of Soquee agreed to show the famous archaeologist these ruins. Many were concentrated around the location of the post office . . . which had been the center of an “Indian Village” until 1818. Indeed, Thomas saw many things that he had not seen elsewhere in the United States, including a stone Mesoamerican ballcourt, agricultural terraces, oval-shaped stone enclosures, stone retaining walls, petroglyphs that belonged in Bronze Age Europe and stone veneered mounds. He reported these discoveries in an 1891 Smithsonian publication. They were soon forgotten.

In 1939, archaeologist Robert Wauchope tried to find these extraordinary structures. He couldn’t. In fact, he could not even find a community named Soquee, and no one told him that Sautee had moved 4 1/2 miles in the early 1920s. Using satellite imagery, topo maps and LIDAR, volunteers are now tromping out into the dense woods of the Georgia Mountains to locate these treasures from the past. After each archaeological zone is discovered, the structures are measured, photographed and video-taped. It is obvious that we are discovering the vestiges of a “lost civilization.”


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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, Thanks for the articles. A Italian connection with that Dare stone. That hand with a circle and a cross symbol is found in Dr. berry Fell’s book of a medallion in Southern Italy. How likely is that to have the same symbol from Georgia and Southern Italy… also similar to the Rock track stone.

    • By any chance Mark, did the Normans bring the symbol to Italy and Sicily, when they conquered that region?


        Richard, I know they used the (circle and cross symbol) for their coins…but a 4 finger hand symbol attached might be a connection to 4 islands stops along their journey? I have only found in 2 locations : Georgia and Italy. The Romans must have had some connections to Georgia before the Normans… Note: that a monk leaves a lore/book from Ireland about finding the Lucanians islands in the 6th century?…then Columbus /Colon finds the same islands? Is that 4 finger symbol found in Bronze age Europe other than Italy?


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