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.
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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