by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner
Above: Remote sensing techniques enabled me to identify numerous rectangular structures that were covered by the final stage of the mound. There is also a probable tomb and round structure, which was covered by the first stage of the mound.
During the past 160 years, some of the nation’s most famous archaeologists passed by this fascinating archaeological zone without noticing it!
This is the first of short video documentaries that will be created as we explore the mysterious ancient architecture of Northeast Georgia. They incorporate satellite imagery, on-site videos and virtual reality architectural graphics.
In its final form, the Fritchey Mound was one of the larger mounds in the Southeast. It was approximately the size of the Great Temple Mound at Ocmulgee National Historical Monument. Incredibly . . . it stood directly adjacent to the final route of the Unicoi Turnpike then heavily traveled GA Hwy. 17 . . . yet was never noticed by such famous archaeologists as Charles C. Jones, Jr, Cyrus Thomas, George Heye, Warren Moorehead, Robert Wauchope, Arthur Kelly and Phillip Smith.
There were actually at least four stages to the occupation of the Fritchey Mound site. Initially, there were many rectangular buildings then a diamond shaped mound then a circular mound and then a massive oval shaped mound. There was also a large round or oval shaped mound, immediately to the west of the Fritchey Mound, but vegetation partially conceals its footprint.
The archaeological zone includes several village sites, a 350 feet long ceremonial mace effigy, stone retaining walls, small dome-shaped mounds, stone covered mounds, stone circles and a carved boulder. Comprehensive archaeological excavations will probably reveal many more remnants of structures under the ground, plus Frontier Period farmsteads.