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Painting shows Mayas living in Georgia in 1734!

Painting shows Mayas living in Georgia in 1734!

This famous painting above by William Verelst was created in Westminster Palace, when Mikko Tamachichi led a delegation of Creek leaders to meet British officials in 1734.   Apparently,  no one ever looked at the faces of the indigenous visitors . . . or else, they are so used to seeing Mediterranean people portray Indians in movies that they don’t know the differences between indigenous physical features.  A major ethnological discovery has been hiding in that painting for 280 years.

There is a mystery about the Savannah River Band of Uchee.  They live in the same region where Tamachichi moved after being banished from Ichesi (Macon, GA area) in 1717.   Many of them look like Uchees. However, a sizable percentage have the physical features of other indigenous peoples. The most puzzling are those that look like the elite of the Yucatec Maya . . . the folks, who built the big Maya cities.

There is plenty of linguistic and architectural evidence to put the Itza Mayas in the Southeast.  That’s not even a theory.  However, the Itzas didn’t build large cities and were illiterate when the big cities were being built by other branches of the Mayas.

I have told them that they appear to have a mixture of indigenous ancestors, not just Uchee.  However, there has been a lot of mixing of ethnic groups in the Southeast over the past 300 years, so it was hard to pinpoint why a sizable percentage of their tribe looked like a branch of the Mayas for which we have no evidence of immigration.


This is the section of the painting at Westminster Palace, which portrays the visiting Creek dignitaries. Apparently, no one ever looked closely at their faces.   I used special graphics software to de-age the 280 year old painting,  so the Native American faces would be clearer.

The Uchee, Apalache and Itsate all told early British settlers that the first place they lived when they arrived in their current homeland was the general vicinity of Savannah.  High King Chikili told the settlers that “our first emperor is buried in a mound near Savannah.”

But then . . . this morning, I was working on the annual update of The Forgotten History of North Georgia when I happened to click the wrong button on my art editing software.  I was converting the painting above to a graytone image. Suddenly,  the face of one man in the background filled the computer monitor’s screen.   OMG!  He looked just like a Yucatec Maya from 1200 years ago.

Apparently,  Mikko Tamachichi had invited a broad cross-section of members in the Creek Confederacy to accompany him on his trip to England.  The physical features were quite diverse.

Note that the "Creek" man on the left has a flattened forehead and all the typical Yucatec Maya facial features. The extension of the Maya man's nose on the right is an artistic convention, not an actual physical feature of the Yucatec Mayas. It was used to symbolize nobility.

Note that the “Creek” man on the left has a flattened forehead and all the typical Yucatec Maya facial features. The extension of the Maya man’s nose on the right is an artistic convention, not an actual physical feature of the Yucatec Mayas. It was used to symbolize nobility.

Then I looked closely at the other faces for the first time.  The woman to his right also looked like a Yucatec Maya.


A woman in Tamachichi’s party is on the left. A Maya sculture of a Yucatec Maya noblewoman is on the right. Several women in the Savannah River Band of Uchee look almost exactly like her.

Tamachichi had the facial features of many Creeks, who are descended from Cussata (Kusate~Kashete~Coushatta).   These features hark back to the earliest inhabitants of Mexico.  The skeletons that they are finding in Mexico with these features go back 10,000 to 13,600 years ago.  They looked like many people in Myanmar (Burma) and Siam (Thailand) today.  (See below.)


Tamachichi (Tomochichi in English) compared to a sculpture made by Mexican anthropologists from the 13,600 year old skull found in a Yucatan cave. Note the small, lobeless ear on right.


TalasseCornOne of the men was a spitting image of an Itza Maya.   The Itza and Highland Mayas are taller than the Yucatec and Campeche Mayas.  Like the Itsate Creeks they have protruding chins, small ears, minimal ear lobes and  straight noses.   Their complexions are different than the Lowland Mayas also.  Highland Maya generally are lighter  and have an “Oriental” tint to their skin.

Many Creek descendants from Northern Georgia have these features.   Above is my gggg-grandfather from Northeast Georgia.  My Native heritage is mixed Apalache, Itsate and Uchee.

On the left is an Itsate Creek from Georgia. On the right is a Highland Maya from Guatemala.

On the left is an Itsate Creek from Georgia. On the right is a Highland Maya from Guatemala.

You will notice two tall men on the rear right of the painting.   They are Apalache, whose home province was in present day Northest Metro Atlanta.  They were as tall as the Upper Creeks, but lacked the appearance of a raptor that is typical of Upper Creeks.

An Apalache man and apparently, his son. He may have lived in Palachicola, near Savannah.

An Apalache man and apparently, his son.  They may have lived in Palachicola, near Savannah. The ancestors of the Apalache (Aparasi) had a name that meant “Offspring from the Sea.”  They spoke a Panoan language that today is centered in eastern Peru.   They appear to be the progenitors of the Swift Creek Culture and so arrived in the Southeast at least 1800 years ago.


Finally,  in the front center of the painting was Toonahawi, the nephew of Tamachichi.   He has very typical Uchee features mixed with those of his uncle and the Yucatec Mayas. Rumors are swirling that this is really Principal Chief Langley of the Savannah Uchee.   However, that would make Chief Langley about 300 years old.   That may or may not be a factual rumor!

The mound sites along the Lower Savannah River are quite unique.  They consist of small compounds, sometimes of an acre or less, that were palisaded.   There was one very large royal compound on an island, immediately north of Downtown Savannah,  that archaeologists call the Irene site.  Its principal mound was very different from most other mounds in the Southeast (see below.)  This suggests that at some time in the past, there was one ethnic group, which functioned as the governing elite, while other ethnic groups lived in small, dispersed villages.

The principal mound in the Irene Island Compound.

The principal mound in the Irene Island Compound.

Learn something everyday . . . even if one is not looking to learn!

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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.



    I find it very curious that the 13,600 year old skull should yield a restoration sculpture that is astonishingly asian, including the epicanthic eyefold. Have you looked into the work of Graeme Kearsley?

    • No, but I have an epicanthic eyefold and a lobleless ear too . . . just like the sculpture. LOL I must have an ancient soul!

      Actually, my understanding is that a great deal of genetic research went into the creation of this sculpture. The INAH in Mexico knew there was going to be controversy and so made sure that every detail could be backed up by genetics and forensic anthropology.


    if you have someone knowledgeable about beadwork, I think it is significant to check on the patterns of the man and boy. the man has a white neck piece with black chevrons… I think I have seen that somewhere amongst Euchee and the bandolier pattern is not just random. some of the Euchee patterns are taken from patterns on snake skins. not random imaginations of the painter.

    • Richard B, I think that you are right on target. The Apalache man was probably married to a Uchee woman and therefore he and his son would have been in a Uchee clan.

      This painter was obviously a genius at replicating the actual appearance of people. It only make sense that Uchee designs would appear. Palachicola was a hybrid province that had Apalache and Itsate Creeks living among Uchee. However, the Uchee were the original occupants of the region. The Creeks openly agreed to that claim by the Uchee.

      By the way, we have found multiple correlation that Uchee was their original name. It is used consistently by the Creeks and the British throughout the 1700s.


    Fascinating, and entirely plausible! Thank you!


    Richard, The Apalachi /Paracusa/”Toltec’s”/ appear to be the same people who were clearly settled in the South East and had one Clan left in Peru by the 1500’s.
    The “Itza” people could be a separate migration to the South in the 600’s when the Moors took control of Spain and many “Visigoths” of North Africa and Spain left there to make a new home in South Carolina. Too….. “the 7 Golden cities”.
    The Desoto’s men statements about the Talimeco (Tali-miko) temple location and those peoples description could be the “Visigoths” Christians from Spain and North Africa some wearing “Roman/ Visigoths helmets”, battle gear /kilts, as some stone artwork does indicate.
    The suffix “Chi” or “Si” meaning “Sea/water” was part of many peoples names: Maya (Tama-“chi”), Yu-“chi”, Kofita-“chi”, Pala-“chi” that migrated and lived within the Very old “Apalachi trade Kingdom” to include North West Florida, Georgia, South Carolina.
    Trading items like Pottery, Maya blue, Gold, gems, Copper-gold mixed, Gold-zinc with the America’s and world. Massive Mining operations were going on in North America by at least 5000 BC for Copper and as far as Georgia…way back?

  5. All those words you are quoting are Anglicized words. Para is the Panoan word for ocean. Si is a Muskogean suffix for “offspring of.”

    Creeks and Seminoles bear no resemblance to any those peoples. One can instantly see the differences in the proportions and skulls of Creek skeletons versus those from Africa and Europe. For that reason, most of us have trouble finding clothes and shoes that fit us properly.

    We averaged a foot taller or more than people in Europe and North Africa and have Asiatic DNA. The ethnic groups that full blooded Muskogeans most resemble are Southeast Asians.


      Richard, This painting clearly displays “Maya” looking people living in Georgia as you have written. The Maya Civilization that lasted for 3000 years would have been trading with perhaps a far older Civilization that was in Georgia trading greenstone axes, soapstone items at least 1000 years before the Maya 1200BC start timeline.
      The Muskogee people are perhaps a taller Amorite/Hittite people with a understandable incorporation of Asiatic DNA with that “Sea path” and migration. That would perhaps give the appearance of some Native peoples that settled into the South Eastern states. Not all paths are the same for Native Americans.
      Are the Muskogee Nation people researching their DNA as a people? or and if so are their connections with the ancient people of Peru?
      Thank you!! again for your articles.

      • I don’t really know what the Muscogee-Creek Nation is doing now. Right after George Tiger was elected Principal Chief, he fired a large number of honest, intelligent employees (the people I worked for) and replaced them with his cronies. Tiger and Bennett are gone, but the new principal chief is now getting settled.


    Yet another great article.

    With the more accurate representation of the natives in this particular painting there should be less (no) speculation wether there is a MesoAmerican presence in Southeastern North America or not.

    What I would like to see, is that anyone who leaves a
    comment on linguistics or any other theory should also
    include /provide the source /reference material they base
    their comment / theory on.

    An example is the sources I provide in my comments /theories in the article: “Cheriqué Province, Panama … Is It The Origin Of The Cherokee’s Name?”

    This would help the readers of these articles understand what is being said and they may be able to do their own research.
    And that is what it’s all about; there are so many pieces of the puzzle and there is so much information to process.
    Nobody can do it alone.



    Thank you Urisahatu, my thought exactlly
    I know so little about this subject and would like to do research. I for one need a starting point and a purpose. I say again thank you.


      You are welcome.

      Goodluck in doing your own research.


    Larry and Urisahatu, I suspect your issue is that you would like information digital… go to google (or where ever..) and find all the answers. Before the internet (1985 ??) or so, people usually had to go to the library for on site information.
    I am interested in genealogy, but before the internet, you had to actually go to the city/state/etc. for your information….. now you can find large amounts of info on line and send in for your dna test. Digital is an incredible new world, but when you are investigating native americans….the written word is mostly not there….. so, you investigate by looking at their cultural physical things…,clothing, dance, craft, etc….that is where their history is and with Richard, I think he has great advantage in understanding linguistics/anthropology/architecture… things a lot of us do not know. best regards.

    • That’s true, Richard B. The internet has replaced many books. I am frustrated right now, however, because I have several boxes of books in storage that were printed in Mexico and are no longer in print. They have never been digitized.


    Thank you Richard B. for your comment/reply.

    My point is that a good amount of native words from different languages in comments by various readers (excluding Richard Thornton) are often misleading.

    Words that look and sound similar does not necessarily have the same meaning.
    There are many (native) readers who more or less just started to look into their own family/native history via POOF.
    By providing them the sources (book titles, links to websites etc.) they can directly do their own research.

    Otherwise they will take everything what is being said in the comments as fact without knowing what others are actually talking about.

    There is also a risk that readers may lose interest once they have done their own research and find out that some comments on various articles are not based on facts.
    In that case the credibility of POOF will be in jeopardy.

    Another thing by providing source material is to make sure “others” who are out to discredit POOF can’t take advantage of certain comments and theories.

    That is why I personally include and provide the source material in my comments/theories so there can be no doubt
    by readers where I get my information from.
    That way readers can do their own fact finding / research.
    By doing so I also protect the credibility of POOF.


    Urisahatu, right on! and that is the B.C. (before computers..) , the later credible writings had “footnotes” that gave the writer’s sources and bibliographies of books and sources of the writer’s information. My biggest source finding information was using bibliographies of the “best”. Much of the breakthrough information you see on this site is coming from searchers looking at original records (on site) who read Spanish/French/Dutch/etc. … and the discoveries are really fast pace. Very interesting conversation.


    Richard Blackman,
    I took your advice and googled your name, it tells me you are a English actor or are you Richard Blackman the Political scientist & linguist???
    I think we all know google and how it works. If in written print or digital when making broad sweeping statements, I feel it is always better to quote a resourse, to keep everyone on the same page.
    We don`t want everyone just wandering around on google and finding misleading information , like who Richard Blackman is, lol.


    It is a very interesting conversation indeed.

    However, the conversation seems to be going into the wrong direction.

    It is very good that much of the breakthrough information on this site is coming from original records (in Spanish, French, Dutch etc.).
    Yet nobody should ignore every book, dictionary, wordlist etc. that are not based on the original records.
    There were writers, archaeologists, anthropologists etc. who have done fact finding on site themselfs and in the end they came to the same conclusion as what is being presented in articles in POOF.
    The difference is; those writers, archaeologists, anthropologists were (are) ridiculed and dismissed.
    There have been cover-ups going on for a very long time and it is still ungoing.

    In my opinion readers should also have access to sources: books, vocabularies, wordlists etc. that may not be necessarily found in original records.


    Larry, I am flattered you googled my name. I am not the same person of the names you found. Since the internet has taken over, I have made great effort to not be digitized. My effort must be working, my insurance company cannot find me… so, they charge my premiums double. In the past “they” took census of people… names and where living… then when ready “they” just went and herded the people together and took them away from their homes. Google “Trail of Tears”, you should find information. There is a very good book, can’t recall the author , but it is simply titled “The Cherokees”. Read a book along with computer.


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