Research Update: Smaller stone rings may have marked sacred trees

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner

During the surveys of the Alec Mountain Archaeological Zone near my house and the Batesville Archaeological Zone 5.5 miles miles to the north, I have observed numerous small stone rings, varying in diameter from 8 to 20 feet. We found three such rings in the base of the old volcanic crater of Lynch Mountain near Sautee. These seem too small to have been communal worship sites. There are at least two mountaintop stone circle in the region, which are 85 feet in diameter. These definitely functioned as observatories and communal worship sites.

This stone circle is obviously too small to have enclosed a large number of worshipers. It is about 20 feet in diameter. The large rocks would have required several men to move from their original location on the nearby mountainside.

Last night I watched a video, produced in Sweden, which described the history of Scandinavia, prior to the Viking Age. The program mentioned that the ancestors of the Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, Frisians, Angles, Saxons and Jutes . . . plus the Druids in Britain, worshiped ancient trees, generally oaks. The Nordic peoples, including the pagan Anglo-Saxons, considered such ancient trees as worship sites for Odin (Woden). They built circular stone walls out of field stones around these trees. Humans and animals were hung from the larger branches as sacrifices to Odin.

This stone circle in the Cohutta Mountains of NW Georgia contains three vertical monoliths, plus seven large stones. Several of the large stones are partially buried.

When Christian missionaries entered a pagan region of the Nordic peoples or Britain, they would usually cut down the sacred trees and scatter the stones. Most of the stone circles that survive today in Northern Europe consist of large rocks or partially carved, vertical stones, which could not be moved easily by the missionaries. . The remnants of a vertical carved stone circle still exist today in the Cohutta Mountains (Fannin County, GA).

The Tugaloo Stone is one of three engraved boulders about 12-15 miles east of Alec Mountain at the headwaters of the Savannah River, which contains images of Bronze Age Scandinavian boats and astronomical symbols. One other boat on the stone has sails and is almost identical to Bronze Age Phoenician ships! Most of the petroglyphs in North Georgia are identical to either Scandinavian petroglyphs or those in County Kerry, Ireland . . . depending on which Georgia river basin one is in.

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