A virtual reconstruction of historic landscapes & lifestyles

Southeast heritage

Journeys into the past

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Native Americans

Historical ecology, geography, cultural heritage and the clash of European culture with natural technologies and freedom.

Visit our Cherokee Chronicles Research Site:

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Written chronicles testify that the Native Americans inspired many European immigrants, traders, explorers, frontiersmen and their second-generation children to adopt native skills, traditions and to love the freedom of the wild expanses.


Frontier atlas

We have collected and organized hundreds of historic maps, surveys, plats, rare archives, journals, testimonies, dissertations, theses, and archaeological summaries to produce one of the most unusual outdoor-historic atlas in the world.


map of the southeast

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The Elk The Buffalo

historic quotes

There is no better descriptions of the early southeast circa 1700 – 1800, than the words of the Native American, European and African peoples. 

Generally, the ecological and geographical descriptions are accurate, though historical interpretation of events and worldviews can be quite different from the three perspectives.

1743 – North Carolina –
English Naturalist Mark Catesby

"This Beast nearest resembles the European red deer, in colour, shape, and form of the horns, though it is a much larger animal, and of a stronger make-, their horns are not palmated, but round, a pair of which weighs upwards of thirty pounds; they usually accompany bufaloes, with whom they range in droves in the Upper and remote parts of Carolina, where as well as in our other colonies, they are improperly called elks. The French in America call this Beast the Canada Stag. In New England it is known by the name of the grey Moose, to distinguish it from the preceding beast, which they call the black Moose."

1752 – northeast of modern Asheville, North Carolina
Bishop Spangenburg Surveying Party

"We are now in a locality that has probably been but seldom trodden by the foot of man since the Creation of the World. For seventy or eighty miles we have been traveling over terrible mountains, & along very dangerous places where there was no way at all. With respect to this locality where we are now encamped - one might call it a Basin or Kettle. It is a cove in the mountains & is very rich soil. .....our horses find abundant pasture among the buffalo haunts & tame grass among the springs..."
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archives - journals - historic maps - events

1700 southeast ecology
mountains - trails - settlements
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chestnuts & passenger pigeons
the southeast

mountains - piedmont - swamps - savannas - barrens

In 1700, the bison (buffalo) roamed the eastern continental North America.  Flocks of millions of Passenger Pigeons blackened the skies and enriched the forests. People were few and the open expanses of forests, grasslands, mountains and swamps teemed with wildlife, plants, fishes and birds. 

Some described it as a great park where in places one could ride a horse under the canopies of immense trees and open grasslands speckled with clumps of trees called savannas. The natives modified the landscapes with the natural tool of “fire.”  Grassy plains held their small herds of buffalo, elk and deer. Black bear thrived in the mountains and forests. Flocks of turkeys fed on fall forest floors littered with American chestnuts. It was indeed a vast reserve of natural resources from which was derived a sustainable lifestyle for native peoples who lived simply with natural technologies.  

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Trading Post Vanns
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shared research

  • Historic Abstracts
  • Historic Maps
  • Historic Graphics

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  • Download High Res Maps
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  • Cherokee Chronicles
  • Outdoor Series
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Resources of a Different Kind

Real people, real raw archives, real descriptions of early Native America and Anglo-frontier people.