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The Bronze Age Connection . . . a snapshot of our research today

The Bronze Age Connection . . . a snapshot of our research today


The April Fool’s joke was on me folks . . . never be absolutely sure of ANYTHING!

The Uchee, Southern Shawnee, Chickasaw, Alabama, Creeks, Cherokee and Seminole are NOT solely the descendants of aboriginal peoples in North America.  Any geneticist, who analyzes DNA samples with that assumption, are going to end up misinterpreting the genetic profile.  They are the result of many peoples from across Asia, the Americas and western Europe, mixing over the eons then their minute number of survivors, after the European Disease Holocaust, forming alliances that the young United States later recognized as tribes.  In particular, the Uchee, Southern Shawnee, Muskogee-Creek, Cherokee and Seminole provide linguistic evidence of ancient immigration from Bronze Age Scandinavia, Ireland and Scotland.  Indeed, the Shawnee, Muskogee and Cherokee suffix for “tribe or people” is the Irish Gaelic word for “tribe or people.”

During the era, when I was a college student, several authors, mostly from Europe, made popular the belief that Extraterrestrials, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Libyans, Sumerians, Chinese or “Vikings” had been responsible for all the great civilizations of the Americas. All authors shared the assumption that indigenous Americans lacked the intelligence to create a civilization.   Never mind that about 70% of the vegetables consumed by people around the world today, were first domesticated by indigenous Americans.  The authors knew nothing about the languages and cultural history of indigenous Americans, when making these claims.   They had no idea that the oldest pyramids in the world are in Peru and the oldest geometrically arranged mounds are in Georgia, Louisiana, Peru and Brazil.   As a result, I have been extremely hostile since then to all proposals that any people from the Old World settled in the Americas before the Early Middle Ages, when Scandinavians arrived in the Maritime Provinces and a relatively small band of Irish refugees settled on the South Atlantic Coast near Savannah. Then . . . exactly a year ago, I came to the astonishing conclusion that most of the petroglyphs in North Georgia were identical to either those in southwestern Ireland or southern Scandinavia!


Who would have thought?

But then . . . a year ago I discovered that most of the Georgia petroglyphs are identical to European Bronze Age petroglyphs and that the Tugaloo Stone portrays three Bronze Age European ships, plus Scandinavian Bronze Age astronomical symbols.   Everything changed. 

Let’s make something clear.   The earliest mounds in Georgia, Louisiana and Peru predate the oldest mounds in northern and western Europe.  The stonehenges in Canada predate by 500 years their earliest manifestation in the British Isles.  No one knows how old the stone circles are on mountaintops in Georgia, because no archaeologist has attempted to do radiocarbon testing at any of these sites.  Thus, the evidence suggests a two way cultural communication between eastern North America and northwestern Europe that seems to have ended during the Late Bronze Age.  

Discoveries of Roman coins and Irish Iron Age ogham writing (c. 50 BC – 600 AD) in the Appalachian Plateau do provide evidence that small parties of Europeans arrived in North America at later dates, but there is no evidence of a later cultural influence from Europe on North America. During the Middle and Late Woodland Periods, we see a profound influence from Amazonia and eastern Peru on the Lower Southeast.  Also, the way that human figures are portrayed by the Hopewell and Copena Cultures suggests at least indirect influence from Teotihuacan. 

Let’s take a look at what we know at this time.  As research continues there will probably be more observations and a greater understanding of the Southeast’s past.

North Georgia petroglyphs:  Most of the petroglyphs in North Georgia are identical to Bronze Age petroglyphs in Europe.  Georgia contains the purest gold in the world.  Given that its gold fields have been mined for probably 3500 years, it probably initially offered vast wealth by picking gold nuggest off the ground.  Most of the petroglyphs in the Etowah River Valley of Georgia are identical to those in southwestern Ireland and around Dundee, Scotland.  Those in the British Isles are thought to day from around 2500 BC to 1200 BC.  Most of the petroglyphs in the Chattahoochee, Nottely and Savannah River Basins are identical to those in southern Scandinavia.  Those in Scandinavia first appeared around 2000 BC.

Ko-ra:  Co-re was a king and Co-ra was the ancient pre-Celtic word for a tribe or nation, sufficient in size to have a king, in the British Isles.  It may have also been the word used in Early Bronze Age Scandinavia, but most of that language has been lost.  Because most Southeastern indigenous peoples, plus the  Panoans of Amazonia, roll their R’s so hard that they sound like an L,  Cora is the source word for the word meaning the same in Apalache-Creek (kora or kola), Muskogee (kli), Chickasaw (kola),  Coastal Choctaw (kola), modern Choctaw (okola or okla) and Arawak (koa, kua or gua).

Togha-re:  The word means “Principal People” in Gaelic.  It applied to both a tribe and the elite of other tribes.  It is the origin of the following Appalachian tribal and place names – Tokah-re, Togaria, Tokee, Toque, Toccoa, Tugaloo, Tuckabatchee, Tuckasegee and Tocasee.  Tokahle is also a Muskogee-Creek word meaning “freckled.”

Cura:  The Cura-re were a powerful pre-Gaelic tribe in Ireland.  Their name means “Spear People” or “the Sun Goddess People.”   The word is the origin of the following tribal and place names in the Southeast –  Kulasee-Creeks, Cullowhee, NC, Cullasaga River, Judaculla Rock and Curahee Mountain, GA.

Arawaks:  Seventeenth century ethnologist, Charles de Rochefort, stated that the Arawaks originated on the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia and were the most advanced people in North America at the time.  He said that they built the shell rings then began migrating southward, eventually reaching Peru and Amazonia.  The proto-Arawaks then began migrating northward.  That would place them in South Carolina and Georgia between around 2400 BC through 1600 BC.  The appearance of shell rings in the region coincides with the earliest known pottery in North America.   Around  2360 BC,  a 20 year long period of almost constant rainfall resulted in the near depopulation of Ireland and southern England. Prior to that time, the people of Ireland built field stone ring mortuary complexes that were almost identical to the shell ring  complexes of the South Atlantic Coast.

Cherokee-Irish Moundbuilders: When they moved into the Southern Highlands the ancestors of the Cherokees absorbed some of the Tokah-re. Tokah-re means “Principal People” in Irish Gaelic.  Other Tokah-re had already moved south.   The southern Tokah-re eventually became the Tuckabatchee and Tokasi branches of the Creeks and Seminoles.  Nevertheless, Tokoa (Tocqua, Toccoa, etc.) was an important Overhill Cherokee town.  Therefore, it is safe to say that at least some of the Cherokees today are descendants of Bronze Age mound builders in northwestern Europe.  So the joke was on me.

Algonquians:  The Uchee state that Algonquians already had occupied a large chunk of eastern North America, when they arrived.  However, some other ethnic group had build hundreds of shell rings and shell mounds in the Southeastern United States, but had moved away to the south.

Geneticists at the University of Copenhagen have been able the people, who first settled Scandinavia and the British Isles after the last ice cap receded.  They were from Central Asia and were the result of western Asians intermarrying with proto-Europeans.  The Middle Easterners in Ireland and Scotland, mentioned in a comment by Mark Veale, came about 5, 500 years later.  At this time, my guess is that the Algonquians of eastern North America are the descendants of the mixing of aboriginal peoples of the British Isles with peoples, whose ancestors came across the land bridge from Siberia.  However, those peoples’ ancestors have also been traced to Central Asia.  There is no other way of explaining the same word for “tribe or people” being on both sides of the Atlantic.

Uchee:  Uchee is the Anglicization of the pre-Gaelic Irish word for water, uisce.  They were known as the Okate or Water People by the Itsate Creeks.  The Uchee have always said that they originated in the Land of the home of the Sun God.  They traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to settle initially near the mouth of the Savannah River.  Since they came after the shell rings were abandoned, their probable time of arrival is between 1500 BC and 1200 BC.  Around 1200 BC the Deptford Culture appeared in Savannah.  It produced cord-marked, beaker shaped jars which were identical to those made contemporaneously in Ireland, Scotland and southern Scandinavia. The massive ceremonial flint swords of the Uchee were also identical to those made in the Early Bronze Age in northwestern Europe.

Wasa, Wassaw & Guasvli:  These were people living south of Savannah at Wassaw Sound, on the middle and upper Savannah River and near Franklin, NC.  It was the name of a town visited by Hernando de Soto, which anthropologist Charles Hudson labeled “the ancient capital of the great Cherokee Nation.” This word has three possible etymologies.  (1) In Proto-Oceanic . . . such archaic Australoid, Maori, Samoan, Hawaiian, etc . . . it means ocean.  Guasvri (Guasvli) means “Ocean People.”  (2) It is the Central and Southern German word for water, which is derived from the true Celts of the Austrian Alps. (3) The Archaic Finnish and Sami word for a young cow, reindeer or elk.   

Wataree (Watagi or Wataugi in Cherokee):   This was originally a tribe that occupied most of the North Carolina Mountains north of Asheville, but by the 1700s had been decimated by raids by northern tribes, European diseases and English-sponsored slave raids.  Most of the survivors lived on the Wataree River in South Carolina when the colony was founded in 1670 Water-re was a name of a tribe in the region now occupied by the Netherlands, Friesland, southern Denmark and northwestern Germany.  The word means “Water People.”

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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.



    Hey Richard T., Here are some articles that might interest you. Maybe this particular comment should be posted on the “Your thoughts on this latest theory on migration into the Americas?” post, yet I think this post is more suitable for it.

    Article title: Was this ancient person from China the offspring of modern humans and Neandertals?

    Publication date: October 12, 2017

    By Ann Gibbons


    “When scientists excavated a 40,000-year-old skeleton in China in 2003, they thought they had discovered the offspring of a Neandertal and a modern human. But ancient DNA now reveals that the “Tianyuan Man” has only traces of Neandertal DNA and non detectable from another type of extinct human known as a Denisovan. Instead, he was a full-fledged member of our species, Homo sapiens, and a distant relative of people who today live in East Asia and South America.”

    “The Tianyuan Man did not have any detectable DNA from Denisovans,”

    “A big surprise is that the Tianyan Man shares DNA with one acient European-a 35,000-year-old modern human from Goyet Caves in Belgium. But he doesn’t share it with the other ancient humans who lived at roughly the same time in Romania and Siberia-or with the living Europeans. But the Tianyuan Man is most closely related to living people in east Asia-including in China, Japan and the Koreas-and in Southeast Asia, including Papua New Guinea and Australia.”

    “The Tianyuan Man also was distant relative of Native Americans living today in the Amazon of South America, such as the Karitiana and Surui peoples of Brazil and the Chane people of nothern Argentia and southern Bolivia.”

    “This is welcome news to Skoglund, who found in a separate study in 2015 that the Karitiana and Surui peoples are closely related to indigenous Australians, New Guineans and Andaman Islanders.”


    It is interesting that Tianyuan Man shares DNA with (at least) one ancient ;35,000 year old; European in Belgium ;once part of the Netherlands and now a separate country to the south of the Netherlands; is closely related to living people in East Asia including Papua New Guinea and Australia; a distant relative to the Amazonian Karitiana and Surui peoples of Brazil ;who in turn are also related to (Papua) New Guineans and Australians; without detectable Denisovan DNA.
    This COULD (would?) mean that the so-called dark skinned people who once lived in Europe and surrounding isles were actually partially Australoid or Australo-Melanesian (perhaps proto Australoid before mixing with Denisovans). Denisovan DNA is found in modern living Papuans, Australians and Oceanians and also Tibetans and some Han Chinese.


    Article title: Tibetans inherited high-altitude gene from ancient human

    Publication date: July 2, 2014

    By Ann Gibbons


    “A “superathlete” gene that helps Sherpas and other Tibetans breathe easy at high altitudes was inherited from an ancient species of human. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which finds that the gene variant came from people known as Denisovans, who went extinct soon after they mated with the ancestors of Europeans and Asians about 40,000 years ago.”

    “Other recent studies have shown that although Melanesians in Papua New Guinea have the highest levels of Denisovan DNA today (about 5% of their genome), some Han Chinese and mainland Asians retain a low level of Denisovan ancestry (about 0.2% to 2%), suggesting that much of their Denisovan ancestry has been wiped out or lost over time as their small populations were absorbed by much larger groups of modern humans.”


    An interesting note is that the Denisovans went extinct about 40,000 years ago around the same time Tianyuan Man cam into existence and inherited pre-Denisovan Papuan and Australian DNA.
    For Tianyuan Man to share DNA with the ancient 35,000 European from Goyet Caves in Belgium he had to go through either Siberia or Central Asia (or both) to reach (the edge) of western Europe.

    Maybe the mixing of pre-Denisovan Papuans and Australians (proto-Australoid?) with mainland Asian people (Neandertal?) gave birth to a people who were similar in appearance to present day Melanesians, Island Southeast Asians and various Oceanians who reached the Americas via multiple routes; one being the Pacific coastal route and the other perhaps via Europe and various surrounding isles ;of course after more mixing during their migration through Siberia, Central Asia and mainland Europe; becoming the dark or black skinned Europeans.

    • Mark, your research is particularly interesting because it would explain the mystery I described in today’s POOF article!


    Hey Richard, when do you think most of the Gaelic interaction began, and when did it end? Also of interest, the cross and circle motifs that appear in both places can be found in Egypt, Australia, and cliffs in China (also Polynesia) as well as concentric circles….transoceanic !


    • I “think” that it at least began when the shell rings and pottery appeared on the Georgia Coast – around 2500 BC. It most likely ended when there was no longer a demand for large amounts of copper in Europe or around 500 BC.


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