Historic Markers Across Georgia

The Creek Town of Cusseta

Marker ID:  
Location: 3535 South Lumpkin Road, Columbus, GA
County: Muscogee
Coordinates: N 32° 23.195    W 084° 57.518
  32.38658333    -84.95863333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


The Creek Town of Cusseta
—Creek Heritage Trail—

The village of Cusseta (also known as Kasihta or Cussetuh) was one of the most important talwas (tvlwv), or political, economic, and cultural centers of the Lower Creek Indians. Believed to have been originally built on a large, flat bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee River in the late 17th century, the town later relocated a short distance downriver. The site of Cusseta lies just a few miles from this spot on the grounds of Fort Benning.

The town of Cusseta at its height consisted of over 200 family compounds, called huti, surrounding a central ceremonial complex. These compounds, comprised of several houses belonging to members of a family group, were built of timber with walls of mixed clay and moss. As the Creeks were a matrilineal society which traced their ancestry through mothers and grandmothers, each main house belonged to the oldest woman of the family. Her daughters and their families resided in the neighboring houses within the compound. At the center of the village was a meeting ground where various social, religious, and political events took place. Just outside of the village complex were hundreds of acres of land used for communal cultivation of crops and grazing. Farther away would have been a number of talofas, or smaller communities, whose people were closely associated with Cusseta.

The Creeks were descended from several early native groups who built large mound complexes over 1,000 years ago. Local prehistoric communities collapsed by the 1500s for several reasons, including the introduction of deadly diseases by European explorers. Small groups of survivors from diverse areas, often migrating over long distances, began to band together around the early 1600s. These people were first collectively referred to as "Creeks" by English colonial officials. Speakers of a dialect of the Muskogee (Mvskoke) language group, Creeks referred to themselves as "Muscogee" people. The term is believed to derive from a word meaning "swamp" or "wetland."
Though mound-building by native peoples reached its height just prior to the arrival of European explorers, the building of earthen mounds in this area dates back over 2,000 years and continued well into the time of Cusseta's formation. Archaeologists have found evidence of several mounds in the vicinity of Cusseta.

Photo captions:
Left side map "Georgia, From the Latest Authorities," 1796. By John Reid and W. Wintherbottom.

Middle map Map showing historic locations of the original and second town of Cusseta. Based on a map in Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians, 1715-1836, by H. Thomas Foster II

Middle right sketch This sketch of a Creek homestead near Cusseta was produced by British author Basil Hall during a visit to this area at the time the city of Columbus was being planned.

Top right photo Depiction of a typical Creek town. Virtual reality computer image by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner, Dahlonega, GA

Bottom right This depiction of a mound center along the Chattahoochee River portrays a typical Mississippian period community. Virtual reality computer image by Richard L. Thornton Architect & City Planner, Dahlonega, GA

Erected 2014 by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Columbia State University.

A photo of this marker can be found on HMDB.org