Tag Archives: Prehistoric Georgia

Kolomoki Mounds, 350-750 AD, Early County

kolomoki mounds national historic landmark temple mound photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Located along Kolomoki Creek, a tributary of the nearby Chattahoochee River, Kolomoki Mounds is among the largest Woodland Period burial and temple complexes in the Southeast.  The site dates to 350-750AD/CE and may have been one of the most populous settlements north of Mexico at the time. Most of the mounds are quite small in contrast to the Temple Mound (seen above), which has a base of 325 by 200 feet and a height of 56 feet. It is believed that the Temple Mound was used for religious ceremonies and there is speculation that the chieftain’s house was located on the west side (seen below) of the mound, which is slightly higher than the east side.

kolomoki mounds early county ga temple mound photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Various tribes made this site home, including Weeden Island, Kolomoki, and Lamar Indians.

kolomoki mounds ga view from atop temple mound photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

This view, from atop the Temple Mound, looks out onto a vast plaza. This was a typical layout for Woodland villages. The plaza would have included various houses of wattle and daub construction, roofed with local grasses. In its time, all of this would have been exposed red clay.

kolomoki mounds temple mound stairs photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Looking down the steps to the plaza gives some perspective as to the size of the temple mound.

kolomoki mounds national historic landmark photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

This burial mound, on the plaza, is known simply as Mound D. At 20 feet, it’s one of the largest extant Woodland burial mounds. It was completely excavated in the early 1950s; radiocarbon dating has suggested it was built around 30AD/CE, with a margin of error of 300 years. More information about the site’s smaller mounds and a history of archaeological excavations conducted here over the years can be found at the New Georgia Encyclopedia. Sadly, a theft at the site in 1974 resulted in the loss of numerous pieces of pottery and other artifacts. It’s hoped that an inventory of the stolen items, which are still sought by the park, will eventually lead to some of them being recovered.

kolomoki mounds state historic park gopher tortoise photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

There is much to see at Kolomoki Mounds State Park, including abundant wildlife and flora. This Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), covered in red clay, was crossing the main road in the park. They were likely quite abundant here in the Woodland Period.

National Historic Landmark

 

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Altamaha Formation Outcrop, Jeff Davis County

Altamaha Grit Sandstone Outcrop Middle Miocene Flat Tub Broxton Rocks Jeff Davis County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

If you’ve ever traveled Georgia Highway 107 between Jacksonville and Snipesville, you’ve undoubtedly noticed these large outcrops near the Coffee/Jeff Davis County line. They’re an extension of the better-known Broxton Rocks, a natural area protected by the Nature Conservancy of Georgia. The area, known as Flat Tub,  is accessible as a Georgia Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and recent covenants have led to further protections of this fascinating resource.

Altamaha Grit Sandstone Outcrop Middle Miocene Flat Tub Jeff Davis County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Long thought to be Altamaha Grit, different hypotheses suggest that it could be of Altamaha Formation, but not as “gritty” as other such areas previously identified. Another thesis suggests this may be a more specific “Ocmulgee Formation”, the result of a meteorite impact which may have created the Big Bend of the Ocmulgee.

Flat Tub Altamaha Grit Sandstone Outcrop Middle Miocene Wildflowers Jeff Davis County GA Natural Area Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Whatever the specific geology, it’s certainly an amazing environment, almost alien in comparison to adjacent lands.

Altamaha Grit Sandstone Outcrop Middle Miocene Flat Tub Wildflowers Jeff Davis County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --JEFF DAVIS COUNTY GA--