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Was the Arnold Mound actually a fortification?

Was the Arnold Mound actually a fortification?

 

Very little that we are finding in the Soque, Sautee, Maudin Mill, Amy’s Creek and Tallulah Valleys fit the “mold” of orthodox Southeastern Native American history.  We know that the Soque People lived there, but their descendants, the Miccosukee, state that they were one of the last branches of the Creek Confederacy to arrive in the Southeast. I honestly do not know who made the ancient petroglyphs and built the stone circles, effigies, mounds and cairns.   The first step in answering those questions is creating a comprehensive, detailed inventory of archaeological sites.

Site plan of the Arnold Mound and a nearby 125 feet diameter burial mound

The Arnold Mound is quite unusual for the Southeastern United States.  First of all, it is located in the floodplain of a small creek that could only provide tillable land for a few families.   It is the exact dimensions of a Native American stickball stadium/field a little over a mile to the north in the Maudin Mill Creek Valley . . . pretty much the exact size of an American Football field.    The Arnold Mound is oval in shape and is oriented perpendicular to the Winter Solstice Sunset AND a slot in the wall of the Alec Mountain Stone Oval. (See Below).   It appears to have been created by excavating some of the bottom land of Amos Creek and then piling the soil on top of a rock outcrop where a small stream (called a branch in the Southeast) joins Amos Creek.  The result was a 315 ft. x 145 feet x 40 feet mound rising out of a man-made pond.  About 150 feet downstream from the mound is a stone boulder on an island in Amos Creek, on which has been carved a human figure! 

The presumption that I made in producing the three dimensional computer model of the Amos Creek Basin (above) was that the Arnold Mound was a ceremonial structure aligned to and related to the Alec Mountain Stone Oval.  That’s probably true, but then I watched a documentary on the Bronze Age in Northwestern Europe.   It was common during the Late Neolithic, Early Bronze Age and Late Bronze Age for hill forts to be erected in small bodies of water. Could it be that the Arnold Mound served as a communal defense structure . . . aka a castle . . . when enemies attacked their settlement.  This question may never be answered. 

The whole region is a riddle.  There are some very large earthen and stone structures, which normally one would associate with large fortified towns. In between are scattered hundreds of stone cairns, stone mounds, earthen mounds, petroglyphs and effigies.  Where did the people live, who constructed this ancient architecture?  How were they able to feed a large population within the relatively limited area of tillable riverine bottomlands?  What did their houses and temples look like?   Both the French dispatched from Fort Caroline in 1564, Richard Briggstock in 1553 and the Cherokees in the 18th century said that the advanced peoples of Northeast Georgia had a writing system that was recorded on gold foil.  They also exported gold chains.  What happened to the gold foil, gold chains and writing system? 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.

13 Comments

  1. edward.triple@hotmail.com'

    In “A European Population in Bronze Age Crete” published in the Journal Nature Communications in 2014 they answer all these questions. In the paper they found an extremely diverse genetic background on Bronze Age Crete (late Minoan) that clearly indicates that the closest genetic matches to the Minoans were not even local. The closest matches (see Table 1) were, in this precise order…

    1) BA Sardinian
    2) BA Iberian
    3) BA Portuguese

    And finally the shocker 4) BA SCANDINAVIA!

    This is not a joke post so please read the paper since it’s not paywalled lol!

    The Bronze Age petroglyphs found in Bohuslan Sweden have been identified in peer reviewed literature as being Minoan vessels with Buchhlotz type 1 copper ingots being displayed. That the Minoans were NOT a distinct race but an amalgamation of many genetic types including those from Neolithic Scandinavia suggests their path was out of the Mediterranean to Iberia then North to Scandinavia.

    The pieces fit perfectly because at the mouth of the Savanna River lies the McQueen shell middens (another NW European BA characteristic) and in it they found during this same period (2300-1800BC) a copper artifact that traces to Lake Superior.

    The location of your mound provides great access to both the Savanna and Chattahoochee River systems. At Poverty Point (1700 BC) we see the importation of lots of steatite (soapstone) and other lithics imported from southern Appalachians.

    Stick to your hunches and I assure you we will solve this riddle. The truth is indeed out there… in fact it’s starting staring straight at us lol!

    Reply
  2. csmoke@webound.com'

    gold chains… I recall that several gold chains have been recovered from Spanish shipwrecks off the coast of Florida, USA. explanation was that the ship captains were charged 20% tax on their load of metal by the king of Spain. so, by ‘wearing’ their gold as chain, it avoided the king’s 20%. the chains found have been from 12 ft to 30ft long and one chain the links each weighed 1 oz fine gold. a good compact way of exchanging wealth, the links can be weighed and length measured.

    Reply
  3. markveale@hotmail.com'

    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-WPfKtGWAyOA/V6me46pHdiI/AAAAAAAABNI/mNHYUolvMBM6WBsBN1qKZL93PZ3snKMsACLcB/s1600/aveburystukely.jpg

    Richard, perhaps there were / are more stone works in that area? That design looks somewhat like the Avebury Stonehenge site of England. The Native people of the South continued to build wood-henges/ Stonehenge’s just like the peoples of England / Scotland / Wales most likely having a connection to the same medicine men clan. Alekmani? as they came to be called by the Creeks. Likely connected to the ancient Alachua people that were living in the Okefenokee swamp lake by 1775..and some still living there listed in that 1730 map.

    Reply
  4. nona.elder@yahoo.com'

    I read from 2 sources this week that there are letters in Spanish and Apalachi from the 1600’s in the Archives in Havana

    Reply
  5. edward.triple@hotmail.com'

    ***NP***

    Of course there was no James Bay or Moose river at that time… Just the Missinaibi river and one short Portage at the Thunder House falls to contend with. Lots of petroglyphs and archaic presence in the area. I also bet that there’s a shitload of Superior copper at the bottom of those falls. If you miss the past you are dead. 7 or so people have died there in the last several decades.

    More to come later!

    Reply
  6. markveale@hotmail.com'

    Richard, Also…notice the spelling of the river that flows out of the Thomas co. swamp? “——-Gana” a connection with the ancient copper people of Michigan. The Mitchi-gamia people are on the 1730 map still living by the Mississippi river by one of their other ancient trade locations. By adding the “Ala /Ale” prefix we have “Allegany” an ancient name of the Ohio / Mississippi river people. These ancient Sea miners peoples did not live around the Great lakes but mined the copper there and departed for their home in the Winter…Florida / Georgia? The “Kappa” sound at the time of 1540 was associated with the Flint river but by 1730 the Kappa people were living by the Mitchigamia on the Mississippi. The few that remained in Florida perhaps became the Alachua.

    Reply
    • edward.triple@hotmail.com'

      My guess would be Poverty Point for the 1700-1200BC period of Superior copper mining activity which corresponds to the peak activity during the Bronze Age.

      Yes they were part of the Minoan seafaring network.

      Reply
      • The problem is that at Poverty Point one finds no pottery or metals. At the same time, the Deptford Culture, which began in Savannah around 1200 BC, made cord-marked beaker pottery and had copper artifacts.

        Reply
        • edward.triple@hotmail.com'

          That’s what I thought as well. However, digging through the most recent peer reviewed literature on the matter “Assessing the Provenance of Poverty Point Copper” Hill et Al 2016 (free at researchgate) they used 6 copper artifacts of the 188 that have been now found there to date. There are also over 700 galena objects among the 70 tons of imported material found. An interesting find there is a copper plummet made in the Maritime Archaic style just like the stone one found at Skara Brae Scotland as you already know.

          The copper in those 6 artifacts they found however was found to be most consistent with east coast Appalachian (Nova Scotia in this study) sources so in that sense the jury is still out. I think that a Cu65/63 and lead isotope analysis might shed new light however since the broad range of copper that exists in the Superior basin covers most of what we find on the east coast to the point in terms of mere trace element analysis. We clearly need more information from testing.

          The finding of Superior copper at the mouth of the Savannah River (McQueen shell ring) is right for the possible Minoan connection at 1700BC as radiocarbon dating places it between 2300 and 1800BC when the McQueen shell middens was abandoned. It is entirely possible that copper could have been cast into ingots prior to reaching Poverty Point however although no evidence exists for that hypothesis at this time.

          Reply
        • edward.triple@hotmail.com'

          Almost forgot ….

          Late Neolithic to early Bronze Age timber circles were a big part of the Northwestern European landscape especially in Britain and Ireland.

          (See Wikipedia “Timber Circles” article on those found in Europe and America)

          And the first ceremonial timber circles found in the Americas occurred at POVERTY POINT at 2400BC in the the earlier occupation stage before the big 1700BC ring and mound buildout. The timber circles took root here and remained prolific even into Cahokia and the late historical periods in the southeast.

          Reply
    • edward.triple@hotmail.com'

      The copper production period before that of 2500-2200BC was the R1b ‘Beakers’. (And it looks like R1a arrived for the 3800-3200BC copper period before that from proto Sami).

      Check the Wikipedia article on native American paternal DNA Mark. It has been updated to show that most native R1b found here was NOT of post Columbian origin as previously thought. Rather than asking the question of how this R1b that was previously classed as being “indistinguishable” from modern European DNA suddenly now becomes 20,000 years plus old and from Beringia is a subject for another day.

      Turns out many of your suspicions were correct.

      Reply
  7. edward.triple@hotmail.com'

    Richard,

    If you check out the Cedarland and Claiborne shell midden sites you will find that they are contemporary with Poverty Point. Claiborne is the later of the two village sites and in addition to many Souther Appalachian steatite vessels it also has a nice big conical mound immediately to the east of it. (Big red flag there)

    The eastern
    Mediterranean/Mesopotamian BA collapse was accompanied by an episode of extreme drought. Coincidentally at the same time North America also experienced a severe drought. Also the Upper Great Lakes ceased draining through the Illinois river and down the Mississippi to Poverty Point at that time. All building at Poverty Point ceases at that time (1100BC). The sudden change in NA climate probably uprooted many long standing cultures in the southern US.

    Of note is the large 1600 pound copper nugget found on the former floodplains of the Illinois River in Fulton County Ohio. Hill et al 2016 refers to it as a glacial drift erratic from the last ice age but this explanation is simply impossible. The sediments there are clearly of Wisconsinian origin (last ice age) but the area where it was found was NEVER glaciated. Also there is no possible native copper source directly North of it from which it could have originated based in glacial ice flow studies.

    The copper nugget could well have been heading down the Illinois River and was either abandoned or lost on the bottom of the lake that existed at that time. Boating accidents do happen from time to time. (See Uluburun lol!)

    Reply
  8. edward.triple@hotmail.com'

    Someone needs to get a radiocarbon date on Arnold Mound. Hill himself makes the case that those steatite vessels and copper artifacts came from southern Appalachia probably along the Gulf coast. That means the Chatahoochee is the most likely route. If Arnold Mound was indeed a fortified site as your own intuition suggests then the connection to Claiborne and Poverty Point is likely a fact.

    Reply

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