Location: Bibb County GA

A Fresh Look at Ocmulgee Bottoms

Many of the most fundamental assumptions by the Anthropology profession concerning the Pre-European history of the Lower Southeast were developed during the mid-20th century as a result of a massive, federally-funded excavation of archaeological sites near Macon, GA. While today, anthropologists, museums and the National Park Service present a united front stating that the body of knowledge, which resulted from the Ocmulgee Bottoms studies, was the result of comprehensive analysis, plus well-thought out consensus by some of the most brilliant men of their time, the truth is quite a bit different.

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The Natural History of Ocmulgee Bottoms

Ocmulgee Bottoms is a corridor of the Ocmulgee River Flood Plain in the central region of the State of Georgia that begins at the Fall Line in Macon, GA and continues 38 miles southward to near Hawkinsville, GA. This region is located in Bibb, Twiggs, Houston, Bleckley and Pulaski Counties. The Ocmulgee River’s velocity slows dramatically upon entering the Bottoms and has a serpentine channel. Over the eons, the river here has meandered frequently across the breath of the flood plain, leaving hundreds of ponds and swamps, plus a deep layer of rich, alluvial soil. On top of the alluvial soil is from one to ten feet or red clay that was deposited during the period when cotton was cultivated in the Piedmont, upstream.

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Achese: Birthplace of the Creek Confederacy

The four versions of the de Soto Chronicles say very little about this American Indian town, whose ruins are now known as “the Lamar Village Component of Ocmulgee National Monument.” This is surprising, since the town figures prominently in Creek Indian history. In fact, the chroniclers could not even agree on the town’s name. The Gentleman of Elvas called the town, Achese. Other versions called it Ochese, Ichese and Uchese. English colonists, 200 years later, would call it Ochese. That name stuck.

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