By Timothy R. Pauketat
The attention-grabbing tale of a misplaced urban and an exceptional American civilization
whereas Mayan and Aztec civilizations are widely recognized and documented, rather few individuals are conversant in the most important prehistoric local American urban north of Mexico-a web site that professional Timothy Pauketat brings vividly to lifestyles during this groundbreaking publication. nearly 1000 years in the past, a urban flourished alongside the Mississippi River close to what's now St. Louis. equipped round a sprawling valuable plaza and often called Cahokia, the location has drawn the eye of generations of archaeologists, whose paintings produced proof of advanced celestial timepieces, feasts sufficiently big to feed millions, and stressful indicators of human sacrifice. Drawing on those attention-grabbing reveals, Cahokia offers a full of life and staggering narrative of prehistoric the US.
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Additional resources for Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi (Penguin Library of American Indian History)
The effects of events at Cahokia around 1050 were immediate, abrupt, and long-lasting across the entire midcontinent. The people of this North American city seem to have created their own culture, then proceeded to spread it across the Midwest and into the South and Plains with a religious fervor—and with effects some archaeologists have compared to those of the Olmec and Chavín “mother cultures” of Mexico and Peru. Another theory is that Cahokia’s culture was directly inspired by such Latin American archetypes, with the Cahokian gods and supernatural beliefs possibly being borrowed from Mexican religions.
At that time all the stars and planets in the Northern Hemisphere’s night sky were visible above Cahokia, situated in a broad expanse of Mississippi River bottomland just east of what is now St. Louis, Missouri. 1 Nowadays, one can barely see the stars at night from St. Louis. Tall buildings crowd the sky, and streetlights blot out the stars even as the growth of modern civilization erases the archaeological remains of the ancient North Americans. Still, Cahokia sits silently, awaiting the almost three hundred thousand visitors who come to the site each year.
Brackenridge was standing at the north end of the Grand Plaza, having walked through former residential neighborhoods of the ancient city’s west end. Now he was in the heart of the city, and the ordered layout of all that he had seen became apparent to him. “I could trace with ease any unevenness of surface,” he wrote, “so as to discover whether it was artificial or accidental. ” Brackenridge compared what he saw to what was then the largest city in North America: “If the city of Philadelphia and its environs were deserted,” he wrote, “there would not be more numerous traces of human existence.
Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi (Penguin Library of American Indian History) by Timothy R. Pauketat