Tuesday, September 29, 2009

History... within walking distance!

Greetings, everyone! I wanted to tell you all about the upcoming speaker for the Year of North American Indigenous People. His name is Richard Thornton, and what he has to say should be of particular interest to all of you in the Reinhardt College community. Mr. Thornton is a member of the Muskogee (Creek) nation, and is an expert on their history and architecture. Tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 6 pm at the Funk Heritage Center, he will deliver a talk on the rich heritage of Northwest Georgia. This is going to be exciting, because he is going to identify several sites within walking distance of our campus where the Creek people and other tribal groups used to live, hunt, fish and gather materials. You won't want to meet this rare opportunity to learn about the history which is quite literally under our feet here at Reinhardt!

Accompanying this blog entry is a picture of a large town in the Georgia mountains. The town is divided by a stream. The commoners lived on one side of the stream, and the rulers and professional soldiers lived on the other side. Can you identify this town and where it was located? If you can, you could win a very nice prize at the lecture tomorrow evening.

The winner will receive a bowl made from red clay from Pickens County and white clay from right here in Cherokee County. The bowl depicts the "Long-Nosed Rain God." (Perhaps the Rain God singled us out for some special attention last week)? Mr. Thornton makes Creek and Mayan-style pottery professionally and also constructs exhibits for archaeological museums. He has an international reputation for his application of virtual reality computer graphics to archaeological and historic sites. He was the architect for the first state-funded Trail of Tears memorial in Oklahoma.

He has also been the Architect-of-Record for varied types of projects such as active/passive solar houses, townhouses, apartments, community shopping centers, local government buildings, fire stations, police stations, restaurants, retail shops, medical offices, office buildings, wineries, cheese creameries, veterinary facilities, horse breeding farms, and multi-block downtown historic preservation projects, Civil War battlefield preservation projects, among others.

You might call Mr. Thornton a Renaissance man, if that term didn't seem slightly anachronistic in light of his vast knowledge of pre-Columbian architecture and town planning practices! He has written several textbooks on the subject.

I just spoke to the man on the telephone, and he sounds fascinating. I'm certainly looking forward to his talk tomorrow. I hope to see you there! (And, no, he didn't tell me the answer to his question. We'll just have to find out)!

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