Select Page

Volunteer discovers massive mound in the North Carolina Mountains

Volunteer discovers massive mound in the North Carolina Mountains


This is a game changer.  It is an Early Mississippian Period mound that is the same size as Ocmulgee’s Great Temple Mound and exactly due north of Ocmulgee National Monument.  Along with the Early Mississippian town sites of Hiwassee Island, Tennessee and Mound Bottom, Tennessee, it is powerful evidence that the founders of Ocmulgee developed a network of trading centers with large mounds in an arc through the heart of the Southeast . . . several decades before major mound construction began at Cahokia, Illinois.

A long time subscriber to the People of One Fire has discovered what has to be the largest known Native American mound in North Carolina.  In order to protect the mound and the privacy of the owner, POOF will not tell you its exact location.   For many years, farmers in the vicinity of this mound have been finding sophisticated artifacts when they plowed their fields, but North Carolina historic preservation officials showed no interest in determining the reason for the abundance.   Perhaps the site was too far from the state capitol in Raleigh.   The mound was so large that local residents have always assumed it was a natural hill.  However, our volunteer was curious and so obtained an old black and white aerial photo of the hill.  It is clearly a man-made, truncated pyramid, out of geological context with the surrounding terrain . . . seemingly oriented to the Winter Solstice Sunrise.  ERSI  satellite imagery has confirmed that.

This mound is approximately 300 feet by 300 feet at its base.  The raised platform under the mound is 400 feet in diameter, but mostly extends to the northeast.  The mound has the same alignment as the newly discovered Chiaha Mounds on the Little Tennessee River, downstream from the confluence of the Little Tennessee and Tuckasegee Rivers.   See  Chiaha MoundsHowever, it is over twice as large as the biggest mound at the probable Chiaha town site. It is also twice the size of the Tallulah Mound, southeast of Robbinsville, NC.

Mound B was a pentagonal mound, oriented to the Winter Solstice Sunset like Etowah Mound A.  Mound C faces the south.



The Tallulah Mound is in pristine condition and very visible from US Hwy. 129, southeast of Robbinsville, NC. 

Note:  None of these mounds are listed by the Western North Carolina Mound Project, based at the Western Carolina University’s Department of Anthropology.  However,  with the assistance of National Park Service personnel in the 1990s,  I developed remote-sensing techniques for finding lost Civil War fortifications and Colonial Period structures in Virginia, which have proved equally effective for finding lost towns, built by my Apalache, Itsate and Uchee ancestors in the Lower Southeast.  The Itza-te, Kekchi-te and Cho’i-te Mayas sometimes sculpted their pentagonal, pyramidal mounds from natural hills.  They did not build stone pyramids.  We have identified several such structures in Georgia, which were misinterpreted by Southeastern archaeologists, because they were not familiar with the various Mesoamerican architectural traditions. 

ERSI GIS software was utilized to examine this mound’s geospatial relationship to other Early Mississippian Mounds (900 AD – 1250 AD) in the Lower Southeastern United States. The North Carolina Mound was aligned along a True North-South line with the Great Temple Mound at Ocmulgee National Monument.  TRUE NORTH is defined by the azimuth of the sun, not the magnetic poles of the Earth. All standard maps are based on magnetic North, which is a problem, when the location of the North Magnetic Pole shifts.   The two mounds are approximately 178 miles apart.

I examined the relationship of Mound X with nearby mounds in Cherokee, Graham, Clay and Swain Counties, North Carolina, plus the northern tier of counties in Georgia.  The only town site with mounds, it seemed to align with was the Peachtree Mounds, on the Hiwassee River about five miles southeast of Murphy, NC.  Mound X also aligned with a complex of stone cairns and walls near Unicoi Gap, Georgia.

The earliest “Mississippian Culture” settlement on Hiwassee Island near Dayton, TN dates from around 1000 AD.   The newcomers on this island produced ceramics and artifacts very similar to those found at Ocmulgee National Monument.  Several waves of different ethnic groups settled on this island later on and introduced their own architectural and ceramic traditions.

The Mound Bottom Complex is located on the Harpeth River, west of Nashville, TN.  It was founded around 1000 AD by an invasive people, who constructed identical architecture to that found at Ocmulgee National Monument.  The indigenous Chickasaw People in that region continued to live in their nearby villages, but were influenced by the cultural traditions, introduced by the newcomers.  I could find no geospatial relationship between Mound Bottom and Mound X in the North Carolina Mountains.  However, the dimensions of Mound X in North Carolina,  Mound A at Mound Bottom and Mound A at Ocmulgee are pretty much the same.

Note below that Mound X and the principal mounds at Ocmulgee and Mound Bottom are rotated on their axis to seemingly be oriented to the suns azimuth.   The Winter Solstice was the beginning of the new solar year in Mesoamerica.   However . . . each mound is rotated at a different angle!  The difference between Mound X and the Great Temple Mound at Ocmulgee might be explained by the tall mountains around Mound X.   They would make the sunrise on December 21 come a little later and at a different angle.  However, both Ocmulgee and Mound Bottom have an unobstructed view of the sunrise, so that might not be the explanation at all. It is highly probable that Mound A at Mound Bottom is oriented to the Equinox or some other day of the solar year.

The 400 feet dimension describes an earthen platform on which the main truncated pyramid was based. The sides of Mound X are steeper than those at Ocmulgee.


The Significance of Ocmulgee National Monument

The Acropolis at Waka, overlooking its protected port.

Ocmulgee was a multi-cultural megapolis, which stretched about 14 miles along the Ocmulgee River from Macon, GA southward. During its Early Mississippian Period hay day, Waka (its real name) was essentially the Super-Walmart of the Southeastern United States.  It is now known that there were also large suburban towns on the western side of the river, which were destroyed by Macon’s 19th century development.  At the southern end of this former megapolis is a 28 mound complex, which is completely unknown to the public and most archaeologists outside of Georgia. It is privately owned, but the National Park Service is seeking funds from Congress to buy the tract and to designate Ocmulgee a national park.  Until a few years ago,  very few of the 30,000 boxes of artifacts, unearthed at Ocmulgee in the 1930s had even been opened!  Thus, the current orthodox understanding of Ocmulgee is based on ignorance of much of what was found underground.

Major construction occurred on the acropolis of Ocmulgee between around 900 AD to 1150 AD.  However, humans have constantly lived in Ocmulgee Bottoms from at least as far back as the Ice Age up to the present.  There were several large towns in the corridor, when the Hernando de Soto Expedition came through in the spring of 1540.   At least two versions of the Creek Confederacy were formed at conferences held at Ocmulgee. In the 1600s, the Kingdom of Apalache considered the Ocmulgee River corridor is birthplace, even though its capital was then in present day northeast Metro Atlanta.  The Creek Peoples considered the archaeological zone very sacred and are pressuring Congress to fund continued professional studies of its many sites.  

During the 1930s up to the early 1950s,  “Gone With the Wind” and Ocmulgee were the twin superstars of Georgia’s cultural reputation.   However, the National Park Service never made good on its original promise to acquire enough land tracts to create a national park.   Meanwhile, archaeological work virtually ceased on the acropolis, even though the National Park Service’s Southeastern Archaeological Center was located there.  A new generation of archaeologists arose, who viewed the Southeastern United States as a depraved, cultural backwater . . . and literally extended that stigma to their interpretation of the Pre-Columbian past.   These archaeologists created a myth that Ocmulgee was a small, insignificant colony of Cahokia . . . when in fact, the mounds at Ocmulgee are a century and half older than those of Cahokia.  The proposed Ocmulgee National Park will be 38 miles long.  That gives you an idea of how important Waka was in the Native American world.

An almost death blow to Ocmulgee National Monument occurred in 1973.  Richard Nixon gutted the staff and budget of Ocmulgee National Monument to punish Georgia for putting Senator Gene Talmadge and two congressmen on the Watergate Commission.  The Southeastern Regional Archaeological Center was moved to Tallahassee, Florida.  The National Monument has limped along since then with a skeleton staff.  Its current rise to prominence is due to the work of volunteers in the Macon Area and an extremely dedicated staff.

Many contemporary archaeology books don’t mention or barely mention Ocmulgee National Monument, when discussing the mound-building cultures in the United States.  Most books by archaeologists describe it has having 3-5 mounds (depending on the author) when in fact there are still 24 mounds in the core area of the megapolis and about 75 mounds in the proposed national park.   The most read book on Cahokia, written by a professional archaeologist, described Ocmulgee as “a small insignificant mound cluster out in the middle of nowhere.  One wonders why it even existed. It had no cultural impact outside its immediate locale.”

We see this myth-making so much among Gringo archaeologists.  Some prominent academician with an aggressive personality says something stupid and then all the thralls in the profession zealously replicate his or her stupid comments without challenge.   For decades afterward the profession desperately fights to maintain this orthodoxy, not knowing that all along the emperor or empress never had any clothes.

The primary reason that the People of One Fire focuses on architecture and linguistics is that structures and words are facts, whose existence cannot be denied. I really do not have any theories.  I follow the evidence wherever it leads me, without regard to political or cultural prejudices.  A massive mound in the North Carolina Mountains, which is the same size and shape of the Great Temple Mound at Ocmulgee . . . is a major fact!

The following two tabs change content below.
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.


    • The “volunteer” just emailed me to describe other Native American structures in the vicinity of this big mound in the middle of a remote mountain valley. It must have been a place like Shangra-la.


    Richard, Another Ancient alignment with Honduras and the Costa Rica Pacific coastline on that longitude line. “Waka” is a name of a major ancient Maya city that became was part of the Teotihuacan trade empire. Also, the Maori people of the Pacific use the word “Waka” for their war ships that could be up to 130 feet long, perhaps some connection. It should be understood that the Maori and most native peoples could have crossed the Oceans with those types of Ships. For some reason both Temple mounds alignments you have found terminate in Costa Rica.

    • Wonder why? The only thing that I have found in common between Costa Rica and the Southern Highlands is that both regions made large stone balls. Waka is the Southern Arawak word for Water.


        Richard, I did read that the Hopi people believe that their people arrived by boats on the Pacific side somewhere in Central America? but most Native lore I have read indicates crossing the Atlantic Ocean. So far not much information is known of any ancient Civilization in Costa Rica except they went to a lot of trouble to create those large circular stones and to move them there. “Tlatchque” is the Bribri Native word for their god of thunder, perhaps has some connection to the word “Tlatuici” (as spelled by Mr. Briggstock) that’s what the Paracussis Nobles said they were called in Mexico. Both alignments you have found run to that Pacific coast area that has those giant stones. Some of those people must have made their way up the Alabama, Coosa river?

        • Hey Mark, you know the tribes on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Northern California insist that they came to North America by boat from directly across the Pacific Ocean, not by walking.


    Richard, and so they did just like their Elders had passed down to them. The native people used a throwing device for many centuries which implies it could have also been for hunting whales when they were fishermen. The Elders of many Nations also said they had lived on an island in the ancient days (most likely Antarctica before it was frozen over 6,000 years ago). There is a map that dates back to the 15 century that accurately charts the coastline of Antarctica? which should prove to us that Whale fishermen people made it there, then they followed the Whales up the South American coastline. These longitude lines alignments you have discovered proves that some people that lived in Georgia could chart (True latitude and longitude). They also seems to imply the Paracussis Nobles had at one time lived in Costa Rica. There is one ancient Costa Rica city (1000 BC- 1400’s AD ), the city peaked in 800 AD, where Circular houses were build on “stone foundations” like the Apalacha Kingdom Nobles lived in. There is an active volcano in that area which might have caused many to move just like some of the Maya / Itza people did.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to POOF via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 733 other subscribers

The Information World is changing!

People of One Fire needs your help to evolve with it.

We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

During the past six years, a privately owned business has generously subsidized my research as I virtually traveled along the coast lines and rivers of the Southeast. That will end in December 2017. I desperately need to find a means to keep our research self-supporting with advertising from a broader range of viewers. Creation of animated architectural history films for POOF and a People of One Fire Youtube Channel appears to be the way. To do this I will need to acquire state-of-art software and video hardware, which I can not afford with my very limited income. Several of you know personally that I live a very modest lifestyle. If you can help with this endeavor, it will be greatly appreciated.

Support Us!

Richard Thornton . . . the truth is out there somewhere!

Pin It on Pinterest