Nacoochee Mound

The Nacoochee Mound site is situated along the banks of the upper Chattahoochee River in the mountains of northeast Georgia. Although the original Late Prehistoric earthen platform mound has been completely excavated, a reconstruction of the mound can be seen today on private property in the Nacoochee Valley in White County near Helen, just off Highway 75 at its intersection with the Unicoi Turnpike.
The mound was excavated in 1915 by an expedition sponsored by the Museum of the American Indian, the Heye Foundation, and the Bureau of American Ethnology, making it one of the earliest scientific excavations of its kind in the state. Although excavation techniques at that time were not so rigorously scientific as today's standards, the Nacoochee Mound excavations uncovered evidence for at least two mound stages with a total of seventy-five human burials, some of them intrusive from a later time. About a third of the burials had accompanying artifacts indicating high social status, such as hammered copper celts and sheet ornaments, stone celts and discoidals, conch shell beads and cups, and elaborate pottery. Some of the intrusive burials also contained European glass beads and sheet brass ornaments, placing them within the seventeenth-century contact era.
Archaeological evidence at the Nacoochee Mound site and its near neighbor the Eastwood site indicates that these two mound sites probably served as local, primarily administrative centers during the Middle Lamar Period, sometime during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. There is also evidence, however, for previous occupation at both sites (particularly Eastwood) during the Etowah Period three centuries earlier. Although the village around Nacoochee Mound has not been excavated, it may have been occupied until much later. It is possibly the site of Nacoochee or Chota, two Cherokee villages documented for this valley during the 1715 expedition of Colonel George Chicken. These two towns continued to appear on maps until the mid-eighteenth century but were abandoned shortly thereafter.
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