Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Spikebuck Town is located immediately east of Hayesville, NC on the Hiwassee River bottomland. The Cherokee built a large earthen mound which can still be seen at the mouth of Town Creek. The mound was the chief's house or the ceremonial center for the town.

The first excavation of the Spikebuck site occurred in April, 196l by the invitation of then State Representative Wiley A. McGlamery who owned the land. One of the most interesting finds was made by Frank Osborne while uncovering a fire pit in the village site area. This was the post-mold pattern of an oval-shaped house.

Stone artifacts included plummets, game stones, discs and soapstone pipes. One shell ear plug was found on top of the mound and a few shell beads were located in the village site.

Western Carolina University unearthed Spikebuck in 1973 and 1975. Some of the artifacts dated 3,000 B.C. and 1,000 A.D. Some pottery was stamped on the outside with a paddle to make different designs. Sometimes patterns were made with a corncob. Food bowls were common at the site. Native Americans made checkered, curved, and linear marks on pottery.

The entire town including the houses and the temple mound were surrounded by a stockade. The open area in front of the mound served as a dance ground and ball field. Cornfields were outside the town.

The house walls and stockade were constucted with "wattle-and-daub," a mixture of clay with leaves, and grass, plastered over a wooden post frame. The roofs were covered with thatch or bark.

The Cherokee owned two houses. The winter house had a thatched roof with log sides and during summer it could serve as a sweat lodge.

The summer house was an open rectangle and some had three partitions. The Cherokee actually buried their dead in the summer houses. Few burials occurred in the townhouse mound.

How did Spikebuck get its name? A Cherokee man owned property near the town and was named Spikebuck. The town was named after him.

The rich history of Hayesville, NC has been preserved in the Indian mound. As Stephen Spender said, "History is the ship carrying living memories into the future."

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