Were Creek Indians from West Mexico?

Circular Pyramids

A mound constructed at the Lamar Mounds site in Macon, Georgia near the Ocmulgee Mounds site was a circular pyramid accessed by a spiral ramp. It is the only such structure known to have existed in the eastern United States. Circular stepped pyramids were also a feature of the Teuchitlan Tradition in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. The latest research shows these circular pyramids were built at the same time as the shaft tombs and were part of the same cultural tradition.[xiii] Circular pyramids in Mexico were usually associated with Quetzalcoatl, the Featherd Serpent deity, in his guise as Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, a wind god.[xiv]

Although the Teuchitlan circular pyramids were step-pyramids lacking a circular ramp and the layout of the two sites was also different, it does reveal that at least the “idea” of a circular pyramid existed in western Mexico and could have migrated along with the other ideas and evolved into its own unique expression as seen at the Lamar site.

Lamar Mounds Spiral Mound
The spiral mound at the Lamar Mounds site near Ocmulgee. Notice the man standing on top of the structure and the one on the ground to the left.
Circular stepped pyramid of west Mexico Teuchitlan tradition
Circular pyramid from Teuchitlan Tradition in Jalisco, Mexico.



An Olmec Connection?

A little further south in the western Mexican state of Guerrero other artifacts were found that also have a correlation with artifacts found in the Etowah Mounds site in Georgia. A stone sculpture or stela believed carved by Olmecs after 900 BC was found in San Miguel Amuco, Guerrero.[xv] It depicts a man wearing a bird mask similar to the Bird Man copper breast plate found in the funeral mound at Etowah Mounds. Protruding from the head of the Olmec bird man is a three-pronged design similar to the design of ceremonial maces found at Mississippian sites throughout the southeast.

Olmec "bird man" stela from Guerrero in west Mexico Etowah Mounds Bird Man copper plate
Olmec stone sculpture showing man wearing bird mask with a three-pronged ceremonial mace design on his head Copper breast plate from Etowah Mounds, Georgia depicting a man wearing a bird mask, holding a three-pronged ceremonial mace with a rectangular symbol on his waist pouch.

One such ceremonial mace can be seen in the same Bird Man breastplate from Etowah though it has somewhat more rounded edges than the Olmec design. A nearly identical design can be found at Spiro Mounds. A three-pronged mace closer to the Olmec stela design can be found on a shell gorget which depicts a warrior with a forked-eye motif holding a severed head in one hand and the three-pronged ceremonial mace in the other hand.

Mississippian ceremonial mace from Spiro Mounds Mississippian shell gorget: Forked-eye Warrior with ceremonial mace and severed head
Three-pronged ceremonial mace from Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma that is identical to the one on the Etowah bird man copper breast plate. Mississippian shell gorget depicting warrior with forked-eye motif holding a three-pronged ceremonial mace

Interestingly, the Olmec also depicted themselves wearing a forked-eye motif in some of their ceramics.  They also showed themselves wearing a rectangular breastplate very similar in design to the rectangular motif on the bellows-shaped pouch hanging from the waist on the Etowah Bird Man copper plate which may represent a clan symbol.

Olmec ceramic featuring forked-eye motif Olmec twin statue from El Azuzul
Olmec ceramic showing forked-eye motif Rectangular breastplate on Olmec statue from El Azuzul

The Olmec were also known for creating sculptures and masks featuring a distinctive cleft head. This same feature can be seen on Mississippian Long-Nosed God masks throughout the eastern United States.

Olmec mask with cleft head Long-nosed god maskette with cleft head
Olmec mask with cleft head Long-nosed God mask with cleft head
Long-nosed God maskettes map Long-nosed God pendants from Guatemala
Map showing distribution and variety of Long-Nosed God masks with cleft heads. Variety of long-nosed God stone pendants from Guatemala

It should also be noted that the Long-Nosed God is a deity shared by many cultures throughout Mesoamerica and probably originates with the Olmec.  Of course, the Olmec are also the originators of the “feathered serpent” deity that can also be found throughout eastern North America.

Gary C. Daniels

Gary C. Daniels is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated television, video and multimedia writer and producer. He has a M.A. degree in Communications from Georgia State University in Atlanta, a B.F.A. degree in TV Production from the Savannah College of Art and Design and an A.A. degree in Art from the College of Coastal Georgia. He has appeared on the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Science Channel and History Channel. His History Channel appearance became the highest-rated episode in the network's history. He has a passion for Native American history and art. He is the founder and publisher of LostWorlds.org.

One thought on “Were Creek Indians from West Mexico?

  • July 23, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Very fascinating discourse! Results from my STR ancestry DNA calculator confirm the Mexico/southeast U.S. migration with the the Cora people of Nayarit being directly related to the Creek Indians of Georgia.

Leave a Reply