Stone cairns marked ritual processions from Soque River to mountaintop shrine
This past weekend, I found another mountain gap ceremonial site, northeast of the Alec Mountain Stone Circle and northwest of Clarkesville. This site probably also had ring of stones at one time, but now is a farm and not open to the public. The clue was Stonepile Road, which now connects Clarkesville, GA with Batesville, GA. Although Stonepile Road now has several names along its length, it is continuous from the Soque River to Batesville. Batesville was previously named Soquee and is where Cyrus Thomas, chief Smithsonian Institute archaeologist, identified hundreds of stone ruins in 1886. As stated by Thomas, Stonepile Road is lined with dozens of stone cairns in various states of condition.
The arrangement of the stone cairns is very much like those at Track Rock Gap, but on a much larger scale. Most of the cairns at Track Rock line an ancient road that climbed from the gap to its acropolis. (See below.) I suspect that this winter, we will also find the vestiges of agricultural terraces on the slopes of this mountain near Clarkesville.
What were these cairns used for and who built them? Those are some of the questions we will be addressing in the Soque River Basin Stone Architecture Study. I am not certain that we will find the answers, but will at least know where these stone ruins are and what they look like.
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