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Photos: Newly discovered mound in Batesville, Georgia

Photos:  Newly discovered mound in Batesville, Georgia


This is the newly discovered mega-mound, which in 1886,  Smithsonian archaeologist, Cyrus Thomas, thought was a hill with rock walls on it.  In a sense it was.  The Zoque in Mexico and apparently the Soque in the Southern Appalachians liked to sculpture mounds from the terrain of a site. Almost of the stone walls have been removed to build stone foundations and chimneys in the Batesville-Lake Burton Area.  (Both Zoque and Soque are correctly pronounced Jzhō : kē.) Later in May 2019 will utilize a drone plus laser and GPS measuring devices to create a precise three dimensional computer model of this mound and adjacent structures.  The mound and the two frame buildings are all definitely eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.  The store was built in 1904 after the store, used as a base of operations by Cyrus Thomas, burned.  The house appears to date from the late 19th century.  There are several other mounds and plazas in the Soque Acropolis Complex, but I have not had time to study them.  All but one of the major structures that we have found over the past few months in the Soque River Basin have at least one dimension that is about 315 feet (96 m).  This suggests that their builders had a standardized measurement system.  The long axis of the Alec Mountain Circle was 105 feet, which is 1/3 of 315 feet. 

Satellite image of Hines Mound and surrounding areas.  in 1886, a line of stores and houses were on the east of of the highway . . . now wooded.


Lower south terrace – looking north.


Lower south terrace – looking west.

Lower south terrace – looking west.

Middle south terrace – looking northwest.

Middle south terrace, looking northeast.


Western edge of middle south terrace looking down slopes of mound.

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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.



    Fascinating. I wish I could recognize when there’s a mound.


    Richard, this map of Delisle’s in 1718 shows the migration of the Native peoples from the Tennessee river to the little Tennessee river. The Ohio river area looks depopulated as is the Tennessee river area except for one city / people called “Tongaria”. It looks like some of the Apalachi, Shawnee, and the Uchee had settled by the area of Augusta, Ga and had become part of the new Coweta Creek confederacy. The Coweta Creeks had “sat down” as the Elders said in Ocmulgee by this map of 1718. The Cherokees had finally arrived to the mostly 1690 depopulated areas of North Georgia where the Kingdom of the Apalacha /Chickasaw had been. By 1755 depopulated Cherokee towns in North Georgia on Mitchell maps. The Spanish, Dutch, French, Jewish factors of enslaving Eastern American Natives was mostly over by the time the Creeks and Cherokees made some agreements in the late 17th century.
    You could be right…The area of the world that some of the Cherokees could have migrated from is the area of Georgia / Armenia as there was an Egyptian King that sailed an army most likely with Berber sailors to that area…according to their lore. That would explain the Cherokee DNA mixture and the ancient script found in the South East. Best of luck with your research Richard.


    “……liked to sculpture mounds from the terrain of a site”

    Richard, that is just an amazing change of perception you’ve brought forth. I passed through that intersection just last week; it looks just like a typical modern agri terrace from the 1930s, as do most of the fields in north Georgia. Truly a game changer in my mind to realize that there are so many similar structures in most of the river valleys of north Georgia. I’ve become used to looking for stand alone mounds of which you’ve made us aware such as near Cleveland, Clayton and Chostoe. So if it looks like a mound carved into natural terrain in a known village area there is a good chance that it may be of archaic culture? Such as the one I emailed you about in Owltown on Hwy 129/19, and along Brasstown Creek/Hwy 66 near the NC border.

    Bill in Roswell, GA

    I greatly appreciate your dedication to bringing forth a more accurate view of the real cultural history of north Georgia in particular, but also this part of the country on a broader scale.

    • The Mikkosukee are descended from the elite of the Soque and therefore would have lived at Batesville . . . which was known as Soquee until the mid-1920s. They said that they were one of the last peoples of the Creek Confederacy to leave Mexico . . . apparently because of Nahua invaders in their region. That would put the date around 1150 AD. The petroglyphs, cairns and stone circles in the Soque Valley seem much older than that. Did you notice the series of terraces going down the south side of the pyramidal mound at Batesville. Probably most people assumed that they were recent, but the NEW general store was built in 1904. At that time, Soquee was about a day’s buggy ride from the nearest town and located in an extremely remote area. I imagine that most residents might see Clarkesville once a year, if that often.


    Howdy, Another of my wild ideas….Went on line and found Soque (town) on 1910&1915 Highway Maps. If you care to add them to
    your Batesville story.

    • Yes, that was the name of the town until the early or mid-1920s. That is how I figured out that Batesville was the same place as Soque. In 1939, Robert Wauchope didn’t have access to the internet, so he never did figure out where the village of Soque was. LOL


    Howdy, Had some play time today. So here goes…Another LOL for you.

    Almost due west of Gizzard Branch in a feature…long narrow…RUNS DUE NORTH/SOUTH.
    Old Chimney Mt Rd….Terraces?????
    Edith’s Daylillies EAST—Same????????
    SUN BURST STABLES…..North West……TOWN?????????
    Another feature on Goshen Creek….West of Gizzard….Mite be more South West

    • Yes, Art there are stone cairns and stone circles near Sun Burst Stables . . . also a stone-walled terrace complex! You’re a sharp pencil!


    Howdy, different computer At any rate…Stonepile Baptist Church????? Any history?

    Hwy 255 Recee & Tara’s……HILL Mound? Near by is Key Hole again AGE????

    • Probably gets its name from Stonepile Road, which gets its name from a bunch of stone cairns.


        Richard ,
        Stone pile road more or less connects Soque with the Amy’s, and Amos creek sites ( not far off where foot travel might take a person) between two areas?


    I’ve heard of Mayan peoples living there and gathering some kind of plant or mineral used to make blue dye.


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