4 : Cahokia
are all images of different ancient ruins (or graphic replicas)
of ancient civilizations in the Americas. What appears similar
or different about these?
Period and the Mounds at Cahokia
The era between A.D. 1000 and 1600 during is known as the Mississippian
period. Who were the “Mississippian” people and
what was their way of life and economy based on?
What do the mounds at Cahokia suggest about their builders’
religious and cultural beliefs?
is an artist's rendition of what the Cahokia site might have looked
Americans visit Stonehenge in England. They are unaware that their
own country contains similar feats of ancient engineering. One
mound, located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, is
larger than the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Its base covered 14 acres
and it rose in four terraces to 100 feet.
a thousand years ago, when many European cities were little more
than villages, the people living at Cahokia, near present day
St. Louis, built a wooden barricade surrounding their most important
buildings. Almost two miles long and enclosing more than 120 acres,
the fence required felling 20,000 trees.
the largest settlement north of central Mexico, flourished for
three centuries before it was abandoned. Estimates of its peak
population run from 10,000 to 20,000. Cahokia’s merchants
traded across much of North America, from the Gulf Coast northward
to the Great Lakes, eastward to the Atlantic coast and westward
to Oklahoma. Cahokia spread the Mississippian culture across much
of North America.
Cahokia’s core, within a log stockade ten to 12 feet tall,
was the 200-acre Sacred Precinct where the ruling elite lived
and were buried. On top of a massive earthen mound stood a pole-framed
temple more than 100 feet long, where Cahokia's rulers performed
the political and religious rituals. Cahokia’s streets and
120 mounds were apparently laid out according to their builders’
spiritual principles and view of the cosmos. To explore Cahokia
is to re-experience the wonder of a vanished civilization and
way of life.
more about Cahokia:
Cosmic Landscape Architecture
This excerpt is mirrored on Digital History through permission
of the University of Chicago Press.
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