By Timothy R. Pauketat
The interesting tale of a misplaced urban and an extraordinary American civilization
whereas Mayan and Aztec civilizations are widely recognized and documented, fairly 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 existence during this groundbreaking publication. virtually 1000 years in the past, a urban flourished alongside the Mississippi River close to what's now St. Louis. outfitted round a sprawling significant plaza and often called Cahokia, the location has drawn the eye of generations of archaeologists, whose paintings produced proof of complicated celestial timepieces, feasts large enough to feed hundreds of thousands, and nerve-racking symptoms of human sacrifice. Drawing on those attention-grabbing reveals, Cahokia offers a full of life and brilliant narrative of prehistoric the US.
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Extra resources for Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi (Penguin Library of American Indian History)
Around the ordinary home sites, families are well into their morning routines, with cooking fires smoldering in backyards, men and women busy tinkering and grinding and conversing, and children running and shouting outside the small houses not so different from the vertical-log cabins built by French colonists who moved into the region six hundred years later. In these Indian houses, wall posts are set vertically into the earth. Floors are dug below the ground surface to keep out the summer heat and the winter cold, so people have to step down to enter through the small doorways.
The links are tangible, witnessed by rock-art maps, excavated art objects and gaming stones, and the legends of American Indians, and buried in the mortuary tombs of the early Cahokians. This book follows the hard evidence to arrive back at the beginning. Today’s archaeologists see the spread of Cahokia’s influence in the shapes of platform mounds and ancestral temples, in the works of art buried with the dead across the Midwest and South, in the marine-shell beads traded to distant lands, and among the pottery shards decorated with Cahokian insignia scattered on the floors of Indian homes from Wisconsin and Minnesota in the north to Oklahoma and Louisiana in the south.
Their foreign cuisine, speech patterns, cultural practices, and physical appearance were probably easy to spot and possibly, for parochial locals, a source of awe and mystery. For this reason, the most influential families of the floodplain might well have sought to acquire this exotic aura by marrying into foreign families and bringing their unusual spouses to live with them at Old Cahokia. Some of the foreigners might have been elites with reputations established in far-off lands. Cahokia was not the first ceremonial center to have been constructed in eastern North America, nor was it the first to incorporate giant earthen mounds as a critical architectural feature.