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The Nacoochie Mound in Georgia

Contributions From The Museum Of  The American Indian
Heye Foundation, Volume IV, Number 3

George G. Heye, F. W. Hodge & George H. Pepper - 1918

 Gustav's Library Vintage Reprint

A rare and much sought-after excavation report of the Nacoochie Mound as published by the Heye Foundation in 1918.

Nacoochie Mound and Mt. Yonah

   "In the attractive little Nacoochee valley, drained by the extreme headwaters of the Chattahoochee between Sautee and Soquee creeks in White county, northeastern Georgia, and within the shadow of Mount Yonah which looms toward the southeast, rises an artificial mound, slightly more than seventeen feet in maximum height, which forms a conspicuous landmark in the region. This earthwork, which stands about 300 yards north of the river, was excavated to a considerable extent in the summer of 1915 by a joint expedition of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, and the Bureau of American Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution....

   The settlement of Nacoochee (Nagu'tsI'), with its artificial mound on which was the town-house, was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians from prehistoric times until about the year 1819, and is identified with the Guaxule of the chroniclers of the De Soto expedition in 1540. As prescribed by Cherokee custom, the village was situated near a stream—the Chattahoochee river. Built of soil from the surrounding field, the mound at the time its excavation was commenced rose to an elevation of 17 feet, 3 inches; its summit, which had been dug away to a depth of two feet years ago, was 67 feet 4 inches in minimum and 82 feet 9 inches in maximum diameter, with a circumference of 231 feet, while the basal circumference was about 410 feet. The mound was primarily domiciliary, but numerous interments were made therein....

   Most important among the copper objects, and the most interesting specimen in many respects found in the mound, is a celt, recovered from a grave near the bottom, associated with a small piece of fabric and a fragment of matting diagonally plaited. Part of the wooden handle of the celt is still in place, showing the method of hafting. In one of the uppermost burials were a pair of bark-lined arm-bands of sheet-copper, without ornamentation....

   Nacoochee may be regarded as a typical Cherokee earthwork. While not rich in artifacts, the products of material culture are such as might have been expected to be revealed by the excavation of a Cherokee site occupied from prehistoric times through a considerable part of the historic period. The culture of its inhabitants had not been greatly modified by contact with civilization, for only the upper part of the mound revealed objects of European provenience. It is not likely that more than a few feet of the height of the mound were added during later historic times. Judging from Spanish descriptions of the sixteenth century the form of the mound became greatly changed after the advent of Europeans."

This 6-1/2" x 9-1/2", 218 page, soft cover, facsimile reprint is illustrated with 57 plates and 63 figures. $22.95


Effigy Pipe Celts and Knife Earthenware Bowl  Discoidals

Effigy Pot

Earthenware Jar

Matting Covering Copper Axe

Notched Stones
Stamping Paddles Pipe Rims Copper Axe and Handle Stone Pipes
Sample  Plates - click on image to enlarge