The Spanish Language Blog

There is some controversy about whether or not this story is true and a quick Internet search reveals all kinds of arguments, but, we think it is interesting and worth a mention.

According to a group of archaeologists, 1,100 year old Mayan ruins have been discovered at Track Rock Gap, near Georgia´s tallest mountain. Investigators believe that 154 stone masonry walls are visible, used for creating agricultural terraces, as well as other stone structures. The Mayans are known for having implemented advanced irrigation systems, adapting to difficult terrains. Some believe that the site could, in fact, be the lost city of Yupaha, which Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto failed to find on an expedition in 1540.

Some theorize that the Mayans made the move north around 800 AD, when the once flourishing population began to collapse due to volcanic eruptions, wars and extreme drought. In fact, strong similarities in architectural forms of towns along southern Mexico and southeastern USA have documented and some agronomists believe that corn, beans and tobacco was introduced to the Native Americans from those who migrated north from Mexico.

Despite all these theories, no ruins have ever been found in the US that have been attributed to people who originated in what today is Mexico. Although, many point out that Native American tribes such as the Creeks, Alabamas, Natchez, Chitmachas and Choctaws may be descendants of southern indigenous groups and particularly point out the use of Mesoamerican words in the Creek Indian language, for example.

The mystery remains: Where did the Mayans go? Archaeologists know that the Mayan civilization suffered a rapid collapse and for 170 years they have debated what exactly happened to the vast number of people that once thrived in the area. Mass immigration has been hard to prove and many archeologists have concluded that the Mayans simply died in masse.

However, in the Georgian Mountains there has always been “evidence”. Ruins found around the state were usually attributed to the Cherokee Indians, who denied having created the circular structures and wall terraces on the mountaintops and mountainsides. In the mid-20th Century, modernization in Georgia led to little conservation of these “Indian” mounds and stone structures, most being swept away to give way to highways and other construction projects. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that the state took at active role in trying to conserve this part of its history, the most famous site being the ruins of Fort Mountain State Park.

In 1999, an archaeologist named Mark Williams from the University of Georgia led a group to study the southeastern side of Brasstown Bald. The ruins survived reveal a massive 5 sided pyramidal mound, possibly dating back to 900 AD, partially sculpted out of an existing hill with clay. Of all the indigenous tribes of the Americas, only the Itza Mayas and the Creek Indian ancestors have been known to build 5-sided earth pyramids as their principal mounds, and dozens of similar structures can be found in Central America.

Other reasons to suspect a Mayan presence in the area can be found on early maps of the area. The name “Itsate” can be found. “Itsate” is the name that the Itza Mayans used to call themselves.

An archaeological survey by Loubser’s firm surveyed the area and is said to have done soil dating which estimated that some of the shards were made around 760 AD – 850 AD, around the time that the Mayan population plummeted. The study offered no firm conclusions, but did state that examples of similar sites only exist in the Maya Highlands of South America.

Is Track Rock Gap the “missing link” that archaeologists and architects had been seeking since 1841? Did the Mayas make their way North and establish new cities? There are many debates… If the site does prove specific links between the Southeastern Native Americas and the ancient Mayans, then, according to Thornton, this could be the “most important archeological discovery in recent times.”

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