Georgia’s Indian kings wore the crowns of Maya gods

. . . but also the beards and mustaches of the Olmec Civilization’s nobility. Until the mid-1800s, most adult male Creeks also wore mustaches, but also the turbans, worn by indigenous peoples in eastern Peru. In earlier times, only veterans of warfare could wear mustaches. Have you ever seen a portrayal of a “mound builder” in a museum, wearing a mustache and turban?

Part 39 of the Americas Connected series

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

The appearance of Etula (Etowah Mounds) elite . . . . as portrayed by its art and burials. Museum exhibits show primitive garb.
Everything is wrong at this diorama in the Etowah Mounds State Museum in Cartersville, GA. The famous Etowah marble statues were not carelessly dropped into a shallow grave around 1585 AD as Cherokees were “capturing” and burning the town. In fact, some Creeks continued to live nearby in the Etowah River Valley even after it was given to the Cherokees in 1795! The statues were in the very base of Mound C in a log tomb, next to a stone temple. They date from at least 1000 AD or earlier. Etowah ( Proto-Creek) men wore colorful, patterned kilts, mustaches and turbans. In battle, they wore leather helmets with copper crests and carried rectangular shields. They utilized metal scepters, tools and weapons, made from a very strong “natural brass”, which can be mined near the headwaters of the Etowah River. All of this information comes from the artifacts, unearthed by nationally-respected archaeologists, who worked at Etowah Mounds between 1886 and 1957, It is not speculation. Yet, when a team of University of Georgia anthropology professors were hired in the mid-1995 to guide the renovation of the museum, they chose to dumb down the appearance of the people, remove many copper/brass artifacts and trade ingots from the exhibits and create this fictional diorama. To this day, I do not understand why.
Dr. Arthur Kelly, my first mentor, took this photo on the day that the marble statues were discovered. As you can see, they were beneath Mound C. A series of temples were built over the log tomb, which over several centuries became a large mound.

Most anthropologists never really looked at their art

During the next few weeks, you will see numerous examples of how the indigenous peoples created an advanced civilization in the Southeastern United States, with cultural roots from very early mound builders in the Southeast, plus civilizations in Mesoamerica and Peru. There were mounds and pottery in Georgia about 2,000 years before they occurred in southern Mexico.

The copper hatchet from Etowah above is identical to those found near Tepoztlan, Morelos (Mexico).

I am as to blame as anyone. I did not seriously study the art of my ancestors, until paid to do so by the Muscogee-Creek Nation during 2003 through 2008. I did not start studying the much older petroglyphs of northern Georgia until 2017, when I was stunned to see Swedish Bronze Age ships and symbols on the Tugaloo Stone, on exhibit at Travelers Rest State Historic Site in Toccoa, GA.

I took this photo of a bas relief at Chichen Itza, about ten days after turning 21, while on my fellowship in Mexico. I did not dream that it had any connection to Etowah Mounds or the Creek Indians. At the time, I only admired it as a work of art. The Maya man appears to be holding a hurling (field hockey) stick. Well, actually he is. The favorite sport of the Itza Mayas, Totonacs and people of Teotihuacan was field hockey, not Mesoamerican hand ball. Mesoamerican field hockey became Native American stickball.
Then came the premier of America Unearthed. Chief archaeologist at Chichen Itza, Alfonso Morales, pointed out that the portrayal of priests and dancers at Chichen Itza and Etowah Mounds contained exactly the same details. It was an oh-my-gosh moment in my life. Although Alfonso looks much older then me, actually . . . he served my dinner table as a 10-year-old lad at his parents’ Palenque Inn! His Canadian mother cooked our delicious meals. His father was our tour guide as David Schele, Linda Schele and I toured the Itza Maya capital of Palenque for the first time. Yes, that’s the same Linda Schele, who played a major role in cracking the Maya writing system in the 1980s. Palenque is also the place, where the three of us met National Geographic archaeologist, George Stuart, for the first time.

Now you know!

1 Comment

  1. Max Planck said something along the line of, Science advances one funeral at a time.

    How long did it take science to figure out we’re not the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel? To stop mocking Dr. Horner for his paper on birdlike aspects of some dinosaurs? The ideal injun to too many is the noble savage. It’s gained popularity in modern history texts. As savages, people wore simple clothes, ate simple foods, slaughtered at will and so on. They need that as an excuse to own us. Not being savages, we wore excellent clothing, raised gardens, kept the land as clean as we could and studied everything. niio

    Liked by 1 person

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