Federal bureaucrats, throughout the 20th century then some archaeologists and state bureaucrats until the present, have conspired to conceal astonishing archaeological discoveries from the public’s eye. They will change North America’s history.
Last part of the special series for the Creek New Year – 2021
by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
Did you know? . . . Smithsonian archaeologist James Ford was retained by the new National Park Service to survey Elizafield Plantation and adjacent tracts on the south side of the mouth of the Altamaha River in Glynn County, GA. The State of Georgia had nominated the location as a national park because of its ancient tabby ruins;18th and early 19th century plantations; Native American and Early Colonial Period earthworks, plus abundance of 16th century French and Spanish artifacts in the soil. Ford dug numerous random test pits where he found an abundance of 16th century French and Spanish artifacts. They included fine French china and silverware. For a good reason . . . this was the real site of Fort Caroline (1564-65) and Fort San Mateo (1566-67).
Absolutely, no 16th century artifacts have been found at the fake site of Fort Caroline near Jacksonville, FL. The fort you see is a 1/12th scale, inaccurate model of Fort Caroline, which was built in 1961. The real Fort Caroline was a massive fortified town, which was intended to eventually contain 1200 residents. Its commander, Captain René Goulaine de Laudonnière, intended to build the capital of New France on the natural terrace overlooking the Oconee River, where the University of Georgia is now located . . . in northeast Georgia. The reason was that he had established good relations with the Highland Apalache in Northeast Georgia, who controlled the Georgia Gold Fields! The Oconee is a tributary of the Altamaha River.
Until after 1721, all French, Spanish, English and Dutch maps showed Fort Caroline to be at that location. In addition, explorer William Bartram visited the ruins of Fort San Mateo in 1776 then described them in detail in his famous memoir, “Travels . . .” Ford saw the trapezoidal fortification of Fort San Mateo, but misinterpreted it as being “merely some Indian earthworks.” The earthworks are still visible today on satellite images and at ground level!
There is much more to Ford’s discoveries. At the next to lowest occupation level along the south side of the Altamaha, Ford found ancient iron and still artifacts . . . both weapons and tools. The swords and axes he unearthed sound very much like Viking styles . . . possibly that of the very similar Frisians, Angles, Jutes and Saxons. At the lowest level he found bronze swords, daggers, axe heads, shields, hammers and various tools. Ford labeled the iron, steel and bronze artifacts as “detritus from an early Spanish army camp on the Altamaha River.” Keep in mind that the people of the Iberian Peninsula ceased making bronze weapons and tools around 600 BC and that these items were found in random test pits! There could well be a tractor trailer load of Bronze and Iron Age artifacts under the banks of the Altamaha near its mouth.
Thinking them of little value, Ford gave the artifacts, which he unearthed, back to the State of Georgia. Georgia established Santo Domingo State Park and built a handsome museum to house Ford’s artifacts, plus Native American artifacts, found by other archaeologists. In 1940, the National Park Service sent a very condescending letter to the governor of Georgia that made leaders feel ashamed for even establishing a state park at this enormously important archaeological zone. The concept of a national park was rejected because the tabby ruins only dated from the 1700s. Huh? State officials eventually gave away the park to the Georgia Southern Baptist Convention in order to relocate an orphanage that was being bulldozed to expand the Atlanta Airport. There is no public information concerning what happened to the extremely valuable artifacts, which will change the history of North America.
If you would like to learn the detailed history of the early colonization efforts on the South Atlantic Coast, I strongly recommend my book, The Search for Fort Caroline. As you might expect from an architect, it is beautifully illustrated! The URL for my publisher’s online order page is https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/RichardLThornton. I became interested in Fort Caroline in 2007, while working on the architectural drawings for nearby Mission Santa Catalina de Guale in a contract with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. One of the biggest surprises in the book is that I found absolute proof that the original location of Saint Augustine (September 1565 – March 1566) was next to St. Andrews Bay, Georgia near Jekyll Island.
There is more to the story . . .
- In 1926, archaeologist Warren K. Moorehead of the Peabody Museum in Andover, MA excavated highly oxidized iron tools and weapons from an Indian mound in Ellijay, GA in the Cohutta Mountains of North-Central Geogia. No one knows where these artifacts are now located.
- In 1939, archaeologist Robert Wauchope of the University of Georgia excavated European style bronze/iron weapons and tools from several archeological sites in the Nacoochee Valley (where I live), Helen, GA and the Upper Chattahoochee River Valley. No one knows where these artifacts are now located.
- In 1947, archaeologist Joseph Caldwell of the Smithsonian Institute excavated European style bronze/iron weapons and tools from the future basin of Lake Allatoona in the Upper Etowah River Basin, plus the Savannah and Tugaloo Rivers in Northeast Georgia. No one knows where these artifacts are now located.
- In 1951, archaeologist Phillip White of Harvard University and Peabody Museum excavated European-style bronze axe heads from several mounds on the Oconee River in Northeast Georgia. Nobody, including the Peabody Museum, knows where these axe heads are now located.
- In the 1950, 1960s and 1970s, archaeologist Arthur Kelly of the University of Georgia excavated European style tools and weapons – mostly axe heads – from several mounds on the Altamaha, Savannah, Chattahoochee and Coosawattee Rivers in Georgia. No one knows where these artifacts are now located.
Savannah, GA ~ November 10-14, 2014 – It was the annual meeting of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. As one of those members being honored, the National Trust had picked up the tab for my attendance and hotel room. During the morning session of the 12th, I was one of 38 persons in the nation, awarded the designation of “Outstanding Historic Preservation Scholar” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation . . . the only one from Georgia.
When I returned to my room, the adjacent doors were open. There were cops staying in both rooms! What the heck? I had noticed that repeatedly, wherever I went in the hotel or downtown Savannah, effeminate looking teenage boys or college age females – none of whom were attending the conference – were thrown in my face, so to speak.
On the evening of the 12th, a gay Georgia State University professor had hugged me like I would like to hug a beautiful lady. He exclaimed, “Richard! Congratulations. We are so proud of you. Tomorrow night we are holding a party to celebrate your “coming out” at the Moon River Café.”
The location was highly significant. In the late 1990s, I had been the architect for the Moon River Café and Moon River Brewing Company on the riverfront in Savannah. Also significant was that I am straight and therefore had no plans to “come out.”
I explained to the professor those facts. At first, he just grinned as if he knew better. Eventually, he realized that I was straight and that someone had made a booboo. Didn’t want to sound like a gay basher. I told him that people are born the way they are born. As for me I had a fetish for Native American and Latin American gals with long black hair . . . but also for blond Swedish gals.
On the afternoon of the 13th, all the “hands-on” historic preservation workshops at actual building sites were booked up. I thought that I would drive down to Darien to see if I could find out what happened to the bronze artifacts that were excavated by a Smithsonian archaeologist in 1935 then put on display in a state museum for 15 years. I had always wanted to visit Fort King George Historic Site anyway. I wore my National Trust name tag, which denoted me as one of the “Outstanding Historic Preservation Scholars.” That would give me credibility with staff.
Well, I should have expected it. I was tailed the whole 65-mile trip by a black un-marked Georgia State Police surveillance car. I photographed him and his State Law Enforcement car tag, when I stopped to eat seafood in Midway, GA. Why in the world would he be following me . . . as if I was a drug dealer?
As it turned out, I didn’t need a VIP name tag from the National Trust. Most of the rangers at Fort King Georgia had seen me on the premier of “America Unearthed” on December 21, 2012. It had been blacked out by the political powers that be in North Georgia, but not Southeast Georgia. I was immediately ushered into the new female site manager’s office, along with the senior rangers. The whole group were extremely excited when I told them about the missing artifacts from the former Santo Domingo State Museum. They would make a world-class addition to the exhibits in the Fort King George Museum.
The site manager assigned a ranger with a Masters degree in Archaeology to work with me. She was just about to ask me questions about Fort Caroline, when her secretary entered the office with a grim face, stared at the site manager and said, “It’s Becky Kelly for you.”
Until recently, Becky Kelly was the Director of the Georgia Division of Parks and Historic Sites. Creeks will recognize her as the person, who banned the highly successful Creek Indian Festivals at Sweetwater Creek State Park. The next year she uninvited the seven top elected officials of the Muscogee-Creek Nation to be guests of honor at a banquet at Etowah Mounds . . . two weeks before the event . . . then invited two low ranking bureaucrats of the Eastern Band of Cherokees to take their places. Cherokees will remember her as the person who laid off the entire staff at New Echota National Historic Landmark then essentially shut down this internationally famous historic site.
The site manager signaled for all of us to leave. She glanced at me several times during the brief telephone call. After the call, she asked the staff to come inside the office. They glanced at me several times. When they left, none would look me in the eye. She then asked me to come to the office entrance, but not inside. She told me that she could not talk with me anymore. Most of the staff avoided me thereafter.
The female archaeologist, who earlier had been assigned to work with me, observed me go into the blockhouse. When no one was looking, she quickly darted into the structure and said, “I am so sorry. It’s like the book, 1984, working for the State of Georgia now. I am trying to get out of here, but there are no jobs for archaeologists.”
There were another day and half of the National Trust Conference, but this was the last straw. I had a bad feeling about that night anyway. The Nazi’s here in the South like to do a whole bunch of bad things to you at one time, so you will be emotionally and financially crushed. I headed back to the hotel. I checked out, picked up my three herd dogs at the kennel, then drove back to the mountains. I arrived at my former rental cabin near Amicalola Falls just before midnight.
This was not the first time that bleach-blond Becky Kelly had utilized an illegal GBI wiretap to screw me. In 2007, the site manager at Etowah Mounds called me in the evening with his personal cellular phone to order five copies of my new book on Etowah Mounds. He planned to sell them in the museum workshop. I told him that I had a construction inspection the next morning in Cartersville and could meet him at 8:30 AM.
About two minutes after I arrived, Becky Kelly showed up in a chauffer-driven limousine from her home over two hours away. She immediately ordered the site manager into his office and told him he would be fired if he put my books up for sale in the museum. After her limousine drove off, he personally bought one book. Thus, this lady spent about $200 taxpayers money in salaries and transportation costs in order to keep me from making $15 in profit on the books. The voters of Georgia never see these sorts of things going on.
Back at the old cabin
The interior of the cabin was below freezing, because the only source of heat was a wood stove. I started a fire, fed the dogs and hit the sack. Around 1:30 PM a convoy of pickups came roaring into my driveway, flying Confederate flags. A redneck yelled in fright, “Thar’s someone here!” The trucks quickly backed out. I have no clue, what they planned to do, but it probably was not to do free landscaping for me. Over and over again, in the past 23 years I have seen irrefutable examples of how personnel within Georgia State Law enforcement have direct ties to the KKK, neo-Nazi’s and the other white supremacist dregs of society. They use these scumbags to do politically motivated criminal acts.
On the following Tuesday, a very polite female detective with the Savannah Police telephoned me. (Actually, she had a very sexy South Georgia voice!) “Mr. Thornton, I am trying to determine if you are the person that we are looking for.” She listed my address, Social Security number, etc. I was the person they were looking for. Oh #%&!. I am about to get arrested for something that I didn’t do.
Fortunately, not. The detective said that they were totally confused and she was trying to finish up her report on me. She said that two months earlier the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) had contacted the Savannah Police to warn them that I was coming to town! She said that they painted me to be one of the most evil and dangerous criminals in the state. She could find no criminal record on me, but figured that the GBI would only call for a good reason.
On Monday, the detective had called the Department of Justice in Washington, DC . . . thinking that perhaps I had served time in a federal prison. She got a return call that morning stating that I had no criminal record and in fact was “one of the good guys in Georgia.” The DOJ official added that I had worked for the DOJ Task Force on State and Local Corruption for three years . . . had helped bust the kingpins of an interstate drug pipeline.
The detective moaned that they had re-allocated a significant percentage of their available manpower to prevent me from committing a horrific crime. The expenditure included renting three hotel rooms for a week, paying young actors and actresses to be available as decoys 24 hours a day and quite a bit of overtime. Now she had to explain in a report to her bosses why she spent so much money, when there was no criminal and no planned crime. She wondered, if I had sued a state official or state agency. I told her no.
I told her, “All I can tell you is that a year ago, I was having lunch in downtown Dahlonega with my female co-author for a book on Georgia in the 1600s. Suddenly, the restaurant was surrounded by state police vehicles and dozens of GBI agents in SWAT clothing. Most were carrying assault rifles or shotguns. One of them came inside carrying pistol . . . looked at us sitting at a table . . . then left . . . then all of them left. Maybe we need to reopen the Milledgeville State Mental Hospital and transfer about 2/3rds of the GBI officers to the wards for the incurably insane at Milledgeville Hospital.” The detective giggled then apologized for bothering me then wished me a good week.
None of the state agencies that you think might want to find those priceless artifacts has even responded for my requests for help. Probably most of the historic preservationists, regional planners and archaeologists in our state government and local governments would love to find those priceless artifacts . . . but they are job scared . . . well, just scared in general of the neo-Nazi’s controlling many regions. The new congressman in this district, Andrew Clyde, notoriously gave a speech to Congress in which he described the January 6th riot in the National Capitol as “merely some tourists taking a tour of the Capitol.”
I hear stories like mine from other Southern states. The specifics vary, but it is always evil, ignorant people, consumed with a lust for complete power, who are hostile to the concerns of Native Americans and who continuously sabotage efforts to learn more about our past. People like me will continue to document sites and history as best we can, but there will be no real change until a lot of Billy Goats join together and butt down that metaphorical dam.
New readers may wonder how I became the man in Georgia, who Nazi’s and Boss Hogg’s love to hate. This past Christmas season, I published a free online book in 15 chapters, which initially was an answer to a letter from a beautiful, sweet French lady, whose heart was broken, when I suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth in 1993. She thought I was dead until the summer of 2020. As I wrote the telenovela, though, I became increasingly aware that my own experiences mirrored what was happening in the nation as a whole. Unexpectedly, I became deeply involved in law enforcement activities on a national scale. You might enjoy The French Courtesan, Who Came In from the Cold. You can scroll to the next chapter at the bottom of the webpage or Google with the name and part number on the right. By the way, it is rated PG-16.