Architect Richard Thornton is a member of an alliance of Creek, Choctaw and
Seminole scholars, who over the past seven years have been intensely studying
the heritage of the Muskogean peoples. Much of their activities have involved
re-examination of the archives of the early Spanish, English and French
exploration of the Southeastern United States. We have asked Richard to provide
AccessGenealogy with some of his work. As we add to these articles we will
also be providing a question and answer section for the reader to ask questions
People of One Fire
An alliance of Muskogean scholars
P.O. Box 941 ~ Blairsville, GA 30512
News Update - 10/7/2010
A New Deal for Archaeologists? and Exciting Discoveries
A non-partisan editorial
I am disgusted with all politicians right now . . . so donít
worry about this being an endorsement of anybody.
Month by month over the past two years, I have watched one email address after
another disappear from Anthropology faculties and consulting firms. The address
no longer exists, so we can presume the person is no longer employed there.
Actually, our number of subscribers is way up, but the new email addresses seem
to be personal ones, not academic ones.
The Archaeology profession seems to be in as bad a case of denial as the
Architecture profession. We are being wiped out. The recession hit us architects
in early 2007. Many of my former classmates at Georgia Tech took out secured
bank loans to pay the salaries and overhead of their firms, then Wall Street
melted. My friends did not have any income with which to pay back the loans.
They lost all their equipment, their furniture, their homes, their cars . . .
everything. Most of these offices have been gone since late 2008. My friends
will never practice architecture again. I suspect the same things are going on
with archeological consultants.
No one in our federal or state governments seems to give a damn about the
professionals, who are being devastated by a financial meltdown that they did
not create. Anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, architects, landscape
architects, civil engineers . . . we are the people who define a civilization
and carry the lessons from the past into the future. National and state
politicians seem not to have a clue that this recession is hitting us
disproportionately. In none of the political parties today, do you have a
renaissance man such as Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt or Franklin Roosevelt.
Franklin was an aristocrat, who did give a damn about the common man AND the
educated people of his time. The common folks of Georgia adored him.
A highly respected, retired government official sent me his new book on the art
of the Depression Era. Thank you again sir!!! I would tell you more, but assume
he wants to maintain his privacy. What immediately struck me is that Roosevelt
intentionally extended the WPAís role to create important work for both
archaeologists and architects . . . so those two learned professions would not
die. Absolutely nothing is being done for the professions by either mainstream
political party, and certainly not the Tea Party, whatever it is at this point.
I had plenty of time to think about things while living in a tent in the Smokies
earlier this year. What I saw in my great sojourn through the Southern Highlands
was that America today is putting most of its energy into a doomed attempts at
controlling the present, rather than creating a new future. Forest rangers in
the 1930ís would have jumped at the chance to work with me to find new
archaeological sites or interpret old ones. The State of North Carolina would
have been flattered that a journalist was writing a series in a national news
media (National Examiner) on the Spanish exploration of their state. They would
have made a point of sending people to provide information. Heck, the lady at
the Hayesville-Clay County Chamber of Commerce didnít even know where the
Hayesville Mound was - and her Chamber sponsored the construction of a plaza and
walkways there. <chuckle> She apologized that she was from Florida and a former
Instead, several of the Law Enforcement forest rangers jumped into the bandwagon
of trying to find something to charge me with to prove that they were smarter
than me (or something like that - it got to be a game with them.) I was harassed
non-stop by North Carolina law enforcement, even though I have no criminal
record, no points on my license, and really nothing to hide about in regard to
Repeatedly they tried to entrap me to appear to be a sexual deviate, drug user
or the owner of killer, attack dogs. When stopping me for no reason, they would
make wise cracks about Indians being drunks and they were just checking to see
if I had been drinking. They even sent three men, posing as fishermen, into my
camp trying to get me to drink beer, whiskey, or smoke marijuana. I didnít. The
three imposters did get drunk and confessed everything. They had been promised
that charges would be dropped if they got me to break some law. Instead I stayed
stone sober, made notes, took photographs, etc.
Well anyway, obviously, what is really near and dear to the hearts of
politicians these days is money and the power to control others.
Long, long ago in a galaxy far away. President Roosevelt didnít hesitate to
spend 100ís of millions (2010) dollars for archaeology. I read the old clippings
from Macon, GA or Petersburg, VA and saw how excited the general public was
about the WPA-funded archaeological studies. Todayís politicians wouldnít dare
spend a lot of money on something that wasnít either good for Wall Street or in
some way was presented as enforcing the law or supporting the military.
It is a fact. Everywhere you archaeologists went in the Southeast on the
WPA-funded excavations, and even after the World War II for awhile, you made the
towns nearby better places to live. I realize that community development is not
an academic course requirement for archeology students. However, your work does
have the potential of sparking economic development - through both heritage
tourism and community pride.
For this reason alone, it is long past time for the National Park Service to be
awarded emergency economic stimulation funds to sponsor archaeological studies
throughout the nation. Good lord . . . look at Ocmulgee National Monument. The
National Park Service never curated the boxes of artifacts that the WPA workers
dug up in the 1930s. That embarrassing fact alone should justify a New Deal for
archaeologists. Oh, and while they are at it, the National Park Service could
hire a bunch of us architects to work in rural areas where owners of historical
buildings canít afford to hire architects. We architects could also keep watch
on the archaeologists, so when they archaeologists were getting a little too
anal, we could holler, ďGreen grass up - dirt side down!Ē
Opponents of the WPA at the time of its inception labeled it socialism. However,
once the morale boosting effect of the Works Progress Administration and the
Civilian Conservation Corps were seen, there was not much opposition. After all
the WPA soshulists won World War II.
Exciting things going on at Teotihuacan
There are fascinating archaeological studies underway in Teotihuacan that are
not getting much publicity in the mainstream media, but could turn the world of
archaeology upside down. A maze of tunnels and apparently, underground worship
spaces, in front and under the Temple of Quetzalcoatl has been discovered. The
entrance was filled in with rocks and dirt around 250 AD. Sacrificial burials -
lots of them - are being found under the Avenue of the Dead.
Remember the good old days when there were books that
described the people of Teotihuacan as peaceful and opposed to human sacrifice?
They are finding elaborate sacrificial burials under the Avenue of the Dead -
over a thousand of them.
The public buildings were burned at Teotihuacan around 600 AD. This is about
when many of the Swift Creek and Weeden Island sites were abandoned. Teotihuacan
was completely abandoned after 750 AD - as were most Swift Creek sites. Then the
Totonacs, who claim to have been the founders of Teotihuacan, started new towns
in northern Vera Cruz. A Totonac commoners' house is called a chiki. Chiki is
also the Hitchiti-Creek word for house. They bother were prefabricated
rectangular structures with packed clay walls. The prefabricated chiki suddenly
appeared in Georgia along with wide spread use of bows and arrow, large scale
cultivation of corn, beans and squash. The Creek rotunda - chukofa (MU) or
chokopa (Hitchiti) was originally a Mexican folk temple to the god of Learning,
the Winds and Morning Star - Quetzalcoatl.
There is much we still don't understand about the heritage
and origins of the Muskogeans. The story is probably complex. My guess is that
the ancestors of the Hitchiti left Mexico first, and were then followed by the
Muskogee, Alabama, Choctaws and Chickasaws. The timing is really up to debate
right now. Maybe these new archaeological studies will answer some questions.
Here are some interesting articles concerning what's going on:
Notes About this Material
Source: Richard Thornton, an alliance of Muskogean scholars, professors and
professionals. Copyright Richard Thornton, Blairsville, GA, 2010. Used here with