Who built this ancient stone altar? When?

Throughout this year, readers will be informed as discoveries are made in the Nacoochee Valley. I do not disturb any archaeological sites. I merely document what is visible, without changing the appearance of the surviving structures. In many situations, I cannot explain what I have found . . . only assemble enough information so that in the future, an archaeological team may be able to go the site to study it more thoroughly.

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

Lynch Mountain is an ancient, presumably extinct volcano, whose south wall collapsed in a violent eruption. A stream flows out of the cave (or perhaps fumarole) and flows southward into the Chattahoochee River. It is not known when the mouth of the cave collapsed, but event appears to have been relatively recent, because no trees are growing in the exposed portion of the cave. I did not attempt to find any artifacts. My policy is always not to disturb archaeological sites. I don’t even remove natural vegetation or detritus.

On the north face of the volcanic cone are numerous natural and human-excavated caves. These were used as tombs by the real Apalache, who lived in Northeast Georgia. The Florida “Apalachee” never called themselves by that name until forced to do so by the Spanish.

According to 17th century Natural Scientist, Charles de Rochefort, the Georgia Apalache shared many cultural traditions with the Chachapoya People of the Eastern Andean foothills in addition to burial in mountainside tombs. Like the Chachapoya, the Apalachen elite were usually mummified. The cadavers were put on display until they began to mold. At that point, the mummies were relocated to the tombs. The tombs were sealed with quarried rocks, lain with clay mortar. The stone masonry was then plastered with clay and coating of color pigments. Below is an Apalache tomb, which was robbed long in the past. Note the green pigment on a lime stucco at the bottom of the photo.

Creek Indian descendants typically trace their Native American ancestry to the eastern half of Georgia. They carry Panoan DNA markers from eastern Peru in addition to the Southern Mesoamerican DNA markers, typical of most Creeks. Many will also carry Polynesian, Sami, Basque and Galician DNA markers.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.