UPDATE: The release of Richard Thornton's original article on Dec. 21 has brought up a controversy and a second "edition" of comments that puts archaeologists and academics on a defensive about what is proven, what is conjecture, and according to UGA's Mark Williams "what is bunk." (You can read Williams' findings here.)
A Dec. 21 article at examiner.com claims that there is a sophisticated irrigation system, stone masonry walls and and ruins of other stone structures. Though the site has been investigated and crews have been there for years, shared research, rather than hoarded information was instrumental in Cary Waldrup’s conclusion presented to the People of One Fire Alliance in July, 2011.
In fact, Mark Williams of UGA and Director of the Lamar Institute surveyed Kenimer Mound, in the Nacoochee Valley in 1999. Though he found that the 5-sided pyramidal mound, which Sautee residents assumed was a wooded hill, is actually partially sculpted out of an existing hill and then sculpted to its final form. Architecturally, very much like Maya construction. He was, however, unable to determine the builders.
Waldrup's report to the People of One Fire members concluded: "Those with experiences at Maya town sites instantly recognized that the Track Rock stone structures were identical in form to numerous agricultural terrace sites in Chiapas, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Johannes Loubser’s radiocarbon dates exactly matched the diaspora from the Maya lands and the sudden appearance of large towns with Mesoamerican characteristics in Georgia, Alabama and southeastern Tennessee. Track Rock Gap was the “missing link” that archaeologists and architects had been seeking since 1841."
The site is protected by the United States Forestry Service. It is believed to be best viewed during the winter months, but those looking to hike into the site should check weather conditions before setting out.