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Season Three of the Experimental Biochar Terrace Garden

Season Three of the Experimental Biochar Terrace Garden

Why did indigenous peoples in the Southern Appalachians and Piedmont expend so much human energy building terraces on the sides of mountains and hills when, within walking distance, they built at the same time conventional towns associated with the culture of Etowah Mounds?

In May of 2012, I cut an approximately 60 ft.x 150 ft.swath on a steep hillside near Amicalola Falls and constructed with hand tools, seven terraces. The soil and orientation of the site matched that of the Track Rock terraces. For three seasons, I have planted a broad range of crops from the Americas to see how they responded to the site orientation and biochar agricultural techniques. Biochar techniques were first developed by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Headwaters Region in eastern Peru and northwestern Brazil.

Bean plants

Members of the bean family grew like kudzu in the terrace garden this year. In July, 11-12′ tall saplings had to be inserted in the terraces after the bean vines grew to the top of the corn stalks then kept on growing!

The small garden is so fertile now that it could feed a family for year. I am currently spending much of my time picking, shelling and drying a variety of beans. This year’s production of indigenous members of the bean family was roughly three times what the agricultural extension office said was to be expected in this area. No chemical fertilizers or insecticides were used.

If interested in reading more, go to: Examiner Article

There was a booboo in the South American connection article. The online article from which I copied the two photos of Billy Bowlegs actually had photos of two different men named Billy Bowlegs.. The elderly Billy Bowlegs is not the same person as the famous Seminole war leader, but a Seminole, who lived in Florida in the 20th century.

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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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