Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Von Reck’s amazing pen & pencil sketches of Georgia in the 1730s
A bombshell . . . Native Americans near the Georgia Coast grew calabaza (tropical) squash, water melons, passion fruit, pineapples and cacao, from which chocolate is made. This has been completely left out of the textbooks, but would explain why chocolate was detected in beakers unearthed at Cahokia.
From a letter dispatched from Fort Caroline in 1564, we already knew that chichona, from which quinine is made, was grown along the Altamaha River in Georgia by the Alecmani People . Alek was became the Georgia Creek word for a medical doctor in the 1700s.
Von Reck’s water colors, pen & pencil sketches and ink washes of plants cultivated by nearby Native American tribes also include images of tropical Calabaza squash, passion fruit, water melons and coconut palms. He also drew animals which are now extinct in the region.
There is “pure gold” in Baron von Reck’s sketch book, which he used while living in the new colony of Georgia. You can see samples of his water colors in a previous POOF article. Many surprises are contained in those sketches.
Overnight, Glenn Drummond, a long time member of POOF, sent us a link to Von Reck’s sketch book, which is now owned by Det Dansk Kongelige Bibliotek (the Danish Royal Library.) If you would like to see his full set of water colors, which include many indigenous plants and animals, go to:
After seeing his sketches of the Savannah Uchee buildings, it is clear that they were a distinct branch of the Uchee. Tennessee Valley Uchee only built round houses and round villages. The Savannah Uchee villages had a Caribbean feel to their architecture, but you will notice in one sketch that they also built mounds.
Also, there is the only known drawing of a fort built on the Savannah River in the early 1700s. It was a medieval like tower, not a “Fort Apache” type structure, as most people have assumed.
I used software that enhances ancient maps and architectural drawings to make these images more legible. Enjoy this second exhibit of Baron Georg Frederik von Reck’s work!
Click the image to enlarge it to full size.
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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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