Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Jan Simek

Committee Members

David G. Anderson, Julie L. Reed


Caves have offered the Cherokee people concealment before and after contact with Europeans. With the invention of Sequoyah’s Syllabary a way to record these hidden activities became available. A number of caves in the southeastern United States contain such historical inscriptions and interpreting these can tell archaeologists about who made them and when they were made. This paper considers several such inscription caves, located in the area of north Alabama, north Georgia, and southeastern Tennessee, with Sequoyan Syllabary on the walls. They offer us a better understanding of the Chickamauga Cherokee, the Lower town Cherokee, and the birth of the Cherokee Nation. On the surface, the Cherokee were compliant with the demands of the overwhelming American Governments policy, but traditions were kept alive by concealment. The writing in caves in the southeastern United States can provide missing links to historical accounts and provide new archaeological research avenues for the future.

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