The Hall of Ancients - Southeastern Indians
You will be greeted by a deer at the next stop when you enter the Hall
of the Ancients. This venue offers more detailed historical information
about the Indians who lived in Georgia including the Cherokee and Creek.
You will be taken back in time through beautifully designed dioramas
depicting more than 12,000 years of regional history,
as well as interactive computers with touch screens that are easily used
by both adults and children. The Hall of the Ancients depicts the lifestyles and tools of our indigenous peoples.
You will find information about the Paleo-Indians, the Arachaic, Woodland, Mississippian and the Historic Periods. Looking at each diorama, picture yourself living during that period of time. Each population learned more and more ways to engage the land and provide new resources for their five basic needs. These Native Americans respected the land and protected their environment because it was important for their basic necessities. Archaeologists have provided us with information concerning how these people lived since there is no written history to document their life.
The centerpiece of this room is a massive petroglyph donated to Reinhardt University. This ancient and mysterious carved rock was found years ago on the Cline property in the Hickory Log area of Cherokee County. Early witnesses say there were three rocks. However, an analysis revealed that this was the center of a larger singular rock with two sides having been broken away from the surviving center. This could have happened naturally by earthquake or by white men blasting the original rock looking for gold.
It is very interesting that the designs on this bolder are identical to those found on boulders along the Atlantic Coast of Ireland that date from the Early Bronze Age. The Irish petroglyphs were carved by non-Celts at least 1,500 to 500 years before the use of a unique form of Celtic writing. Irish reasearchers are not certain of the original meaning of the concentric circles, but many of the pertrglyphs seem associated with graves.
The many other artifacts displayed in this room are examples from four large collections totaling more than 6,000 items from northwest Georgia. These artifacts were donated to the Funk Heritage Center from the collections of Margie and Tommy Dunn, Buck Cheeves, Hank Hitt and Jack Richardson. The more significant pieces are exhibited chronologically and described in detail.
Cherokee Removal - The Trail of Tears
2013 is the 175th anniversary of this event.
You will see segments from a film, The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy. It plays continually in this area giving visitors insight into the Cherokee peoples' difficulties. They were removed from their homes in Georgia by federal soldiers in May, 1938. It took only 20 days to round up the Cherokee Indians and take them to camps where they slept on the gound until days later when they were moved to embarkation points prior to traveling over 800 miles across the country to Oklahoma. The film is produced by Rich-Heape Films, Inc.and this brief four minute segment from the two-hour film they produced. It is hosted by well-known Cherokee actor Wes Studi.*
Thanks to the generosity of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association and other anonymous donors, museum visitors can see a timeline, maps and information about the Cherokee Indian removal from Georgia. This section of the Hall of Ancients documents the hardships they endured. In 2013, The Funk Heritage Center is certified as an "interpretive center" and partner on the National Park Service Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. It is important to tell the story of this tragic part of history which includes the hardship, endurance and loss associated with the removal of Georgia's people.
*Copies of this two-hour DVD are available for purchase in the museum gift shop.
is narrated by James Earl Jones. In addition, other
celebrity voices: actors James Garner and John Buttram, singer Crystal
Gayle, former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder and a host of historical experts from major universities
also assisted in recounting the story.
There is a small area in the Hall of the Ancients which is designed
for young children. Childen's books about Native Americans and pioneers
are available for young readers or parents can sit in a rocker and read
stories to preschool children.
Using hand puppets, children can
act out stories about animals that inhabited this area long ago. They
can also touch gourds, deer antlers and other items used by Native
Americans. The children enjoy touching actual skins of animals that live
in Georgia including deer, racoon, beaver and skunk skins.