Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cahokia: Ancient Wonder of Ancient North America

Taken from Seven Wonders of North America by Michael and Mary B. Woods, Twenty-First Century Books, Minneapolis, MN, 2009.
artist rendition of Monk's Mound and playing area.

Cahokia was at one time the largest city in North America.  20,000 people resided in Cahokia.  At the time this was as large as the large European cities.  Cahokia was inhabited from about 1150 A.D. to the 1400s.  The people farmed the rich, fertile soil of the Mississippi basin.  This city was in the proximity of East St. Louis on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.  The people of Cahokia were mound builders, but later than the mound builders of the Ohio region.  cahokia had distinct classes, a ruling class and the working class.  The ruling class ate better diet, and aged more slowly.  A skeleton was found inside a mound.  About sixty other people had been sacrificed and buried with him.  He appeared to be forty, but may have been older again because of his better diet his skeleton may have appeared younger than he was.
The largest mound in Cahokia was Monk's Mound, so called because monks later inhabited the area and farmed in the rich soil.  This mound was as big as the Egyptian and Mexican pyramids.  It would have taken years to build, as the workers would have hauled the dirt one load at a time.  There was also a large playing area nest to the mound for playing a sport called chunky.  It is assumed the people of Cahokia melded into the local tribes, but by the time Europeans arrived the city was deserted, and Europeans had a hard time grasping that the Indians really made such a town.

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