before woodstock

English: Old Cahokia Courthouse, Cahokia, Illinois
English: Old Cahokia Courthouse, Cahokia, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not a town in upstate New York that achieved immortality with a rock festival. It is not a town in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley that achieved immortality when its Lutheran minister threw off his robe to reveal a Continental officer’s uniform.  This Woodstock is located just south of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Metropolitan Atlanta.  It achieved immortality by giving its name to a Native American culture that folks just can’t quite figure out….

The artifacts that Caldwell uncovered at a Native village site on the Little River did not match any known prehistoric culture. The rectangular houses encircled a round plaza. There was no evidence of any mound. These people were serious corn farmers, but the village seemed to be as old as or older than Cahokia, Illinois, which was then assumed to be the first place where Native Americans grew Indian corn and beans.

The village had a timber palisade along its periphery. Invention of radiocarbon dating would not occur until 1949. Two years after the archaeologists were finished at Lake Allatoona.  Caldwell didn’t realize it at the time, but he had discovered the oldest known palisaded community in North America.  Some of the Woodland Period towns in the Southeast were quite large and contained huge mounds, but they were not fortified with timber palisades and gates.

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