Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
The Track Rock Petroglyphs . . . I have a confession
As you all I know, I just follow the evidence where it leads me. During the past week, I have been pouring through Swedish, Danish and Norwegian articles about the Bronze Age. Bronze Age pictographs were a pre-Germanic writing system in Scandinavia that predates runic.
This is not where I was expecting to go. All but three of the glyphs on the six Track Rock Gap petroglyphs can be found at Bronze Age and Early Iron Age petroglyph sites in southern Sweden . . . actually, the very part of Sweden that I lived in. Do you see the tail coming down from the Royal Sun glyph? That was a common feature in Bronze Age Sweden in the approximate period of 1800 BC to 500 BC. The Swedes of the Viking Era probably had no clue what these glyphs meant.
YET . . . Boulder Six at Track Rock Gap, which is illustrated above, does contain Itza Maya glyphs that can be read. Three of them were never used by Bronze Age peoples in Europe. Both the Creeks and the Cherokees called the mountains in that region “Place of the Itza” (Itsapa/Itsayi). Chiaha was definitely an Itza Maya province and there were many villages with Itza names in that region as late as 1721 . . . but most soon moved much further south in Georgia because of the Creek-Cherokee War. The Track Rock Complex is identical to many Itza and Kekchi terrace complexes in Chiapas, Guatemala and Belize.
Now I don’t know what to think. The ancient history of the Americas is obviously much more complex than even a “free thinker” like myself could have imagined.
- Fact! In 1937, Smithsonian Institute archaeologist, James Ford, unearthed several bronze weapons and tools from the south bank of the Altamaha River near Darien, GA and St. Simons Island. He was shown many more bronze and archaic iron weapons/tools that local residents had found in the past. He interpreted all of these artifacts as items left over by bands of Spanish soldiers in the late 1500s.
- Fact! In 1939, Archaeologist Robert Wauchope, a recent graduate of Harvard University, was show bronze weapons and tools that residents of the Nacoochee Valley in Northeast Georgia had found while plowing. The location was about 25 miles west of the Tugaloo Petroglyphic Rock. Wauchope interpreted these artifacts as being left behind by members of the De Soto Expedition because the De Soto Trail Commission had just declared the Nacoochee Mound as the location of Guaxule, a Native town visited by De Soto.
- Fact! In 1951, Harvard University professor Phillip E. Smith unearthed two bronze axe heads from a stone veneered mound on the Oconee River in Middle Georgia. It was in the region occupied by the Oconee People (Ocute), who De Soto had visited. He briefly mentioned them in his report as tools obtained by local Indians from the Spanish. I have found several other archaeological reports on sites in Northeast Georgia, where bronze axes or daggers are mentioned as being unearthed, but they are not discussed in the reports.
- Fact! In 1959, archaeologist Arthur Kelly unearthed a shrine in the shape of a Bronze Age or Iron Age ship, built out of fieldstones and overlooking Morgan Falls in North Metro Atlanta. He called it Boat Rock Grave and interpreted it as a burial in the shape of a much over-sized canoe. Building stone burial mounds in the shape of triple-sized canoes was not a tradition in North America, but was a common practice in Bronze Age Scandinavia and parts of the British Isles.
- Fact! The Iron Age began in Iberia during the 600s BC. No bronze weapons or tools were made in the future location of Spain after around 500 BC. Iron weapons and tools were much cheaper to make and so they quickly replaced bronze implements.
Both the Etula Cross/Sun Cross and the Royal Sun symbol are endemic in Southern Scandinavia, Maya cities and the region of the Southeast where the Creeks originated. The Sun Cross was the symbol of the Sun God in the Southeast and in Scandinavia. In the Southeast and Maya Lands, the Royal Sun meant “Great Sun” or High King. It meant a king in Scandinavia. The Bornholm Glyph predates the Maya glyph by at least 800 years. We really don’t know when the Track Rock glyph was made. How can you explain this?
Yet, as can be seen below, three of the definite Itza Maya-Itsate Creek glyphs below are never seen on Bronze Age Scandinavia petroglyphs. They are the glyphs for mako (great), ahau (lord) and Kukulkan (Quetzalcoatl). While drawing a line down from a glyph is common on Scandinavian and Appalachian petroglyphs, it is not seen in the Maya writing system. So why would an ancient Bronze Age Scandinavian glyphs be combined with Maya glyphs in the Georgia Mountains? Whatever the case, these images are not the graffiti of bored Cherokee hunters as stated in the US Forest Service’s study of Track Rock Gap. In fact, they have nothing to do with the Cherokees at all. None of these symbols ever appeared in Cherokee art, whereas they were incorporated into the shell and copper art of the Creeks.
This is where it really gets “Twilight Zone.” The two unique characteristics of Bronze Age petroglyphs in Southern Sweden and the Island of Zealand in Denmark are the use of lines with dots or circles on the end and the carving of feet across petroglyphic boulders. All of the symbols on the Forsyth Petroglyphic Boulder and most on Boulder Four at Track Rock are Bronze Age Swedish glyphs. Some of the glyphs of Boulder Four are also found in Ireland and Iberia. These glyphs were components of a pre-Runic writing system that seems oriented to astronomy and navigation.
These engraved stones were said to be found in Tennessee in the late 1800s by General Gates P. Thruston, the famous Nashville artifact collector. They contain symbols that are also on the Tugaloo Petroglyphic Rock and the Forsyth Petroglyphic Boulder in Georgia. Thruston definitely misrepresented statues from Etowah Mounds as being from Tennessee, so these might not be from Tennessee. Obviously, these symbols have meaning beyond the names of stars or constellations in the sky. In the late 20th century, an anthropology professor from the University of Tennessee declared them to being fakes, without testing the age of the stone engravings. He described the symbols as “crude attempts by frontiersmen to imitate the Cherokee syllabary.” The symbols bear no resemblance to the letters in the Cherokee syllabary.
My grandmother use to put the symbol on the bottom right of the right hand photo on her pottery and baskets. She said that was the symbol of our mother town. I do believe that these two stones are authentic prehistoric artifacts and not fakes.
Scandinavian archaeologists have identified Late Bronze Age petrogliphs that describe massive attacks by invaders in Phoenician or Greek style seacraft around 500 BC, which quickly ended the Bronze Age. These invaders either killed or drove out the aboriginal people of southern Scandinavia. In these petroglyphs, the invaders’ ships are much larger than the defenders’ boats. They have rams and upturned tails.
Note the oversized leader in the left photo, wearing horns. The De Soto Expedition initially set out from Florida to find the fabled “town of Yupaha,” but never mentioned its name again. Yupaha is probably the contraction of Yupa Ahau, which means “Horned Lord” in Itsate Creek and Itza Maya.
The truth is out there somewhere.
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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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