Fort Mountain, Georgia
Hilltop fort—possibly Hopewell origin
Portions of this article come from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks.
By Dr. Greg Little
Fort Mountain, Georgia is a 211-acre state park in the Chattahoochee National Forest, just to the east of Chatsworth, GA. On the summit of the highest peak, at an elevation over 2600-feet, are the remains of a massive stone wall. The wall runs for 928 feet in a zigzag pattern blocking the point where the easiest approach to the summit lies. Most of the rest of the mountain peak is too steep to gain easy access. The wall varies from 3 to 10 feet in height and provides a good perimeter vantage point around the summit. Its width varies from 4.5 feet to 16 feet. There are four breaks in the wall but these are now thought to be made by European settlers and explorers. A series of pits are found in the wall at strategic points. These appear to be placed in spots where a single person could serve as an outlook.
Some have speculated that the wall was built by the legendary Welchman Prince Madoc who supposedly visited America in the 12th Century. Others have speculated it was built by DeSoto in 1540-41. Both ideas are probably far-fetched and simply wrong. According to Cherokee legends, the people who built the structure were called the "moon Eyes." They were described as tall, light skinned, and having facial hair. Most archaeologists "think" that the structure was constructed around A.D. 400 and that it probably served as a hilltop fort, similar to those made by the Hopewell. Fort Hill in Ohio and Tennessee's Old Stone Fort, both dated to Hopewell times, are identical to Fort Mountain in many features. As a side note, it is becoming increasing clear that ancient America was a veritable melting pot of what was probably a host of different cultures coming from many different lands. Fort Mountain, as is the case with many of the other Hopewell “forts” still in existence (about 20), shows that fortresses on high, steep mountain tops were necessary for survival.