I found out something the other day that made me nerd out on an insane level: a 17th Century melting pot of Native Americans, English colonists, Sephardic Jews, and French Huguenots existed in the “Track Rock Terrace” ruins outside of Atlanta. This has long been cast off as preposterous by archaeological scholars for various reasons, has been corroborated by a letter in French archives found by regional planner and historian Michael Jacobs written on:
“…January 6, 1660 in perfect Renaissance French by Edward Graves (Graeves) a member of the board of directors of the colony, to the Rev. Charles de Rochefort, a French Protestant minister living in exile in Rotterdam, Holland. De Rochefort’s commentary on the letter said that Graves held a Doctor of Law and lived in Melilot within the Apalache Kingdom. The ruins of Melilot are probably located at Little Mulberry River Park in Gwinnett County, GA.”
Cool!?! Apparently a book written by De Rochefort in 1668 on the “Appalache Kingdom”:
“…stated that six survivors of the doomed French colony at Fort Caroline arrived in Apalache in 1566. They converted King Mahdo to Protestant Christianity. Mahdo then began welcoming Protestant and Jewish refugees to his kingdom. A handful of survivors from the Roanoke Colony arrived in 1591. In early 1621 a shipload of English colonists arrived, who permanently gave the colony an English character, complete with a Protestant church. These colonists had planned to settle in Virginia, but re-embarked because of smallpox and hostile Indians. The Dutch sea captain told them about the Melilot colony.”
Apparently some scholars who were presented with De Rochefort’s book concluded that this was phony because the Natives of the area were not capable of building such giant stone structures.
Richard Thorton, who wrote the article in which I discovered this bit of information, has been onto this for quite a while, and several governmental sources tried to slander and disrepute him. The whole ordeal is outlined here on his LinkedIn. It seems a bit conspiracy theory-like in some respects, but apparently several local officials were opposed to digging here because it interrupted drug routes.
Thornton also points to evidence that these folks are likely related to Incans in Peru who made their way North to find a new village, and thus have many mound or pyramid type structures that are similar to Incan temple structures. He has concluded this because of common language characteristics between the two peoples.
Now Thorton has the local governments doing LIDAR tests and GIS mappings to help him uncover these ruins. And hopefully we can get some more light shed on this Colonial mixing pot.
It makes me think: “What else don’t we know?” What other cool archaeological discoveries could we make to completely rewrite or add a chapter to history? Some myopic scholars cast off an entire book because it was “inconceivable” that that Native Americans built stone structures. It’s interesting how something that was once considered fringe comes to have some legs to stand on. This happened with the theory of evolution and the earth revolving around the sun. This might not be as earth shattering as those theories, but it’s still pretty novel and goes against what is considered accepted dogma. The history nerd and rebel in me loves this.
I can’t wait to visit these ruins at some point. Hopefully before too many people go and it costs and arm and a leg to gain access.