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Native Uprisings Against the Carolinas (1711-17)

In 1957 University of Georgia archaeologists, under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Caldwell, were working on several archaeological sites on the tributaries of the Savannah River that were to be flooded by Lake Hartwell.  The best known of these town sites are Tugaloo and Chauga. Because they were last occupied by Lower Cherokees in the early 1700s, the archaeologists assumed that excavation of their mounds would prove that the Cherokees built all the mounds in the Southern Highlands. The archaeologists were shocked to find that the Cherokee occupation of both sites was very brief and much smaller than the ancestors of the Creeks, who had actually built the mounds. The town had been burned and then abandoned by the Creeks.  Because radiocarbon dates for the oldest Cherokee occupation averaged in the 1720s, Dr. Caldwell publicly stated that the Cherokees could have captured the town any earlier than 1700 AD.   Particularly puzzling to him was the widespread presence of “Lameroid” pottery, which was typical of Georgia Creek towns in the early 1700s, just before they switched entirely to cooking in British-made iron pots. Despite the published archaeological report, still on file with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Georgia erected historical markers on Lake Hartwell in the 1960s stating that Tugaloo was Georgia’s oldest Cherokee town and dated back to the 1400s.  Caldwell’s tests showed that the site was occupied at least as early as the 20 BC by ancestors of the Creeks. The conflict between professional archaeological work, professionally researched history and the popular history portrayed in most publications makes the task of discerning the factual...

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