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Town plans of Coosa (Kawshe) and Chiaha were very similar

Town plans of Coosa (Kawshe) and Chiaha were very similar


The long awaited video on the great capital of Coosa will soon be published on Youtube.  It is going to turn the world of Southeastern Anthropology upside-down.  The majority of the population (commoners) of the Province of Kawshe (Coosa) were not even Muskogeans, but Kanza (Siouans), who around 1585 to 1600 AD began migrating westward out of Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama. While in the Southeast, the Kanza built the same style earth-bermed houses that they were living in when first contacted by French traders and American explorers. By the early 1700s, they had reached present day Kansas.  Kansas gets its name from the Kanza or Kaw Nation.  Their elite stayed in the region and became the core of the Upper Creeks.  The disappearance of the Kanza coincided with radiocarbon dates for old gold and silver mine timbers in North Georgia and Western North Carolina.  It is not known if military actions by the Spanish-speaking miners or European diseases propelled their departure.

Both Coosa and Chiaha play prominent roles in the De Soto Chronicles.  Chiaha was also visited twice by Spanish explorer Juan Pardo in the  1560s. The ruins of the capitals of both Coosa and Chiaha now lay beneath the waters of man-made lakes.  The town plan of Coosa was revealed on August 22, 2006, when the US Army Corps of Engineers drained the waters of the Reregulation Reservoir at Carters Lake, GA for six hours to make repairs on the dam.  It took me 11 more years to find the definite location of Chiaha’s capital.  In the winter time, the Tennessee Valley Authority lowers Fontana Lake, NC.  I happened to find a satellite image made during the winter.  The surviving mounds of Chiaha are in a geographical location that matches exactly the descriptions of Chiaha by the De Soto and Juan Pardo Expeditions.   It is just downstream from the confluence of three mountain rivers.

The major mounds at Coosa and Chiaha formed a fishhook shape around an oval plaza.   The plazas were oriented East-West.

The fishhook arrangement around an oval plaza is very different than the architectural traditions of other branches of the Creek Confederacy.  Oval plazas and mounds were commonplace between around 1400 AD and 1720 AD in Creek towns, but not the fishhook arrangement.  Previous architectural periods either had massive five sided or four sided sun temples that dominated rectangular plazas. However, the earliest mounds and plazas in proto-Creek towns from the Archaic and Early Woodland Periods also had oval mounds and plazas.  There is no evidence of the famous Creek Square outdoor arenas until the 1700s. 


The Muskogean-Itza elite of Coosa stayed in the Southern Highlands and became the core of the Upper Creeks in the 1600s.  Kawshe, the Upper Creek language is a dialect of Itsate, which has a vocabulary slightly more similar to  Muskogee.  Several thousand Upper Creeks died in Union concentration camps during the Civil War, even though they were allies of the United States.  As a result, the Upper Creek language has almost died out.  

The Itza Maya roots of Kawshe can be seen in the etymology of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The Itza Maya, Totonac and Itsate-Creek word for a large town was tula, which was derived from the Yucatec Maya word, tulan.  Tulan was a type of construction that utilized the stacking of small rocks.  Tula was the probable name of Teotihuacan and the later capital of the Toltec Kingdom.  Etula was the name of Etowah Mounds.  It means “Principal Town” or “capital” in Itza Maya and Itsate Creek.  Descendants of the residents of Etula were called Tulase, which became Tawlase in Muskogee Creek.  By the time of the Trail of Tears,  Tulase had become Tulse in Upper Creek.  That name was given to a town in the new Creek Nation in the Indian Territory on the Arkansas River.  The new Anglo-American residents of Tulse slightly changed the word Tulsa. 

Coosa is the Anglicization of Kvse, which is pronounced  Käw : shë.  Kaw is the Itza and Itsate-Creek word for eagle.  Kvse means Eagle-descendant of.

Chiaha is a pure Itza Maya word.  It means  “Salvia River.”  Chia actually is the Itza name for a cultivated variety of salvia, which was grown for its highly nutritious seeds,  in recent years generally known as chia . . .  as in  “Chia Pets.”  The De Soto Chronicles stated that the conquistadors observed salvia growing in river bottoms throughout the Province of Chiaha.


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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.



    Richard, You are years ahead of the Universities! The oval shape of the Earth Temple / plaza corresponds to the shape of the Earth. By their advanced Math the Native ancients must have calculated the shape / rotation / wobble of the Earth with this oval shaped plaza / Temple… indicating a understanding of the movement of the Earth around the Sun.

    • It could very well be that. However, right now, until I get this dang time machine working, we will have to speculate on that possibility. I tried to use it once. I wanted to go back to the time when Ocmulgee was first founded, but instead it took me back to my freshman year at Georgia Tech, the moment I was about to take a final exam in Calculus. LOL


        Calculus!!! Bhaa hum bug!!! LOL
        Good Luck to you as the time is approaching. That “black matter” is moving faster now. Verse 2


    Richard, is it possible the etymology of Tula could be tied to the Gaelic word of Tuatha (two-ah) which translates to group, tribe, people, nation as in Tuatha De the advanced group of people most likely druids that arrived in Ireland thousands of years ago

    • No, it is clearly of Maya origin . . . BUT the Uchee word for group, tribe, people or nation was toa or tua . . . very close! Especially, when you consider that the word would have been carried to North American around 1200 BC by a people were not even Irish Gaels. Thank you for telling me about tuatha.


        The very first article I read on this site was about the the tugaloo stone and the origins of the uchee. Initially I thought the the uchee ancestors were survivors of the great cataclysm. I also thought they could be Egyptian because of their claim that they are from the land of the sun. There is so much evidence for it too. For example, the deptford culture started right around the same time as the arrival of the uchee people egyptians were known for there farming and agriculture. Just before the arrival of the uchee’s ancestors there was a radical Pharaoh by the name of akhenaten, he tried to change the religion of egypt to amarna focusing on the sun which is very similar to the creek’s amana and in this religion women were important. Anyway have fun going down this rabbit hole.

        • We are really not sure when the Uchee arrived, but it probably was at the start of the Deptford Culture in Savannah . . . around 1200 BC. There were many natural disasters in Europe during that era.


    Hey Richard. This is David Henry from southeast Ga. Haven’t talked with you since last year sometime. Just wandering if or how the site connected with the Maya around North Ga. is coming along. Very interested in that site and any subterranean finds that may have come along since the last we talked. Great work as always fella!

    • This winter, we are focusing on a cluster of stone ruins in the Soque River Valley and the Nacoochee Valley. They include at least three stone-walled terrace complexes.


    Howdy, Internet has ben down for more than a month.
    SS W of Rectangulat feature across the river is an oval mountain..elvation 160o’

    On top is circular feature.

    Hope this helps


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