The Hall of Ancients - Southeastern Indians
When you enter this room, you will be welcomed by a deer. Native Americans depended on large and small game plus native plants for everyday survival. The Hall of the Ancients offers detailed historical information about the Southeastern Indians, Cherokee and Creek, who lived in Georgia.
The Life Along the Etowah exhitit explains how the Southeastern Indians depended on the environment for survival. People have lived in the Etowah River Valley for thousands of years, a valley where three great geographic regions meet to create a rich and diverse environment. These Native Americans respected the land and protected it because it provided for all of their basic needs including food, shelter, clothing, tools, weapons and transportation.
The History Beneath Our Feet exhibit, explains how archaeology plays such an important role in our understanding how people lived long ago. Photos of the actual excavation of the i995 Cherokee County Hickory Log site show how archaeologists unearthed artifacts, some displayed in this exhibit. A excavation site map shows where the "dig" took place prior to the construction of the Canton Walmart. Artifacts recovered from this Hickory Log site reveal multiple Native American settlements, some dating back more than 2,000 years. Remnants of the Historic Period - mostly trade goods of iron and ceramics - offer a view of daily life along a cultural borderland during the decades before the Cherokee were foced to leave this area in 1838. Artifacts were also discovered from the Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian periods of time.
Thanks to everyone who donated funds toward curating artifacts from the 1995 Hickory Log excavation. Also, thanks to all those who made donations for new exhibits that display some of the best artifacts from the collection. Two of three exhibits opened in the Hall of the Ancients September 30.
Dioramas Depict Different Eras
You will be taken back in time through beautifully designed dioramas depicting more than 12,000 years of regional history.There is information about the Paleo-Indians, the Arachaic, Woodland, Mississippian people plus those who lived during the Historic Period. Looking at each diorama, picture yourself living during that period of time. Each population learned more ways to engage the land and provide new resources for their basic needs.
The centerpiece of the Hall of Ancients is a massive petroglyph.
This ancient and mysterious carved rock was found years ago on the Cline property, also located 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 as legend would have it, by white men blasting the original rock looking for gold. The carvings on the rock appear to be from the Mississippian period of time, 1000 - 1550 AD.
The designs on Reinhardt's petroglyph are identical to those found on boulders along the Atlantic Coast of Ireland which 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 researchers are not certain of the original meaning of the concentric circles, but many of the Petroglyphs seem associated with graves.
Cherokee Removal - The Trail of Tears
You will see segments from a film, The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy. The film plays continually to give visitors insight into the Cherokee peoples' difficulties. They were removed from their homes in Georgia by federal soldiers in May, 1838. It took only 20 days to round up the Cherokee Indians and take them to camps where they slept on the ground until days later when they were moved to embarkation points and then traveled more than 800 miles to Oklahoma. This brief four-minute segment is from a two-hour film produced by Rich-Heape Films, Inc.*
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 was 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. 2013 was the 175th anniversary of this event. On the large map in this area, you will find the Hickory Log area where a 1995 archaeological excavation uncovered artifacts dating back more than 2,000 years.
A new and enlarged Cherokee Life exhibit which will include the Trail of Tears may be completed in 2018. Donations from museum members, volunteers, friends and staff that matched a grant $1 for $1 from the Hudgens Foundation funds will be used to for this exhibit. When the new exhibit is finished, it will also include Cherokee artifacts excavated in 1995 from the Hickory Log area of Cherokee County.
*Copies of this two-hour DVD are available for purchase in the museum gift shop.
The film is hosted by well-known Cherokee actor Wes Studi and narrated by James Earl Jones. Other celebrity voices include actors James Garner and John Buttram, singer Crystal Gayle, former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder and a host of historical experts from major universities.
A small area in the Hall of the Ancients is designed for young children. Children'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, rabbit and skunk skins.