Cahokia Mounds

Decent Essays
Cahokia, named by archaeologists, is the largest Mississippian settlement across the United States; it is located just south of the Lawrenz Gun Club Site (Fig. 7). When Cahokia was an active and thriving city, it was believed that Cahokia spanned 16 Km2 and encompassed over 120 man made mounds that all served different functionalities (CahokiaMounds 2015). According to anthropologist Timothy Pauketat (2009), “Cahokia is an ancient city along the Mississippi River, located opposite of modern-day St. Louis, Missouri and was as large in its prime as New York and Philadelphia before the mid-1700s, a home to ten-thousand indigenous peoples.” The land was dominated by the presence of human-constructed mounds, which some archaeologists have speculated…show more content…
Monk’s Mound is the largest earthwork in the United States, but the reason for why this one Mississippian mound stands out from all others has been a point of confusion for archaeologists. In the 1960s, researches started to investigate the mound to understand the mound’s relation to the Mississippian mound building culture. During this initial research, there were nine cores samples taken that showed that Monk’s Mound was constructed in 14 stages in the span of 250 years (De Pastino 2015). It was initially thought that the mound was built like many other Mississippian mounds, through loading baskets from a nearby source with dirt, then stacking them up, and flattening the top of the mound. However, this idea was contested in 2005 when a part of the mound collapsed (De Pastino 2015). Archaeologists, Schilling and Lopino, took twenty-two samples from the mound interior that became exposed due to the collapse; these researches studied the soil to understand the construction of the mound. What they found was that the soil that comprised the mound was relatively fresh and contained undisturbed plant material, there was little carbonized material, this is a sign that the soil did not sit at the surface long and was buried quickly (De Pastino…show more content…
The largess of Monk’s Mound showed that Cahokia was powerful and consisted of a lot of inhabitants, which most likely, was foreboding to enemies. Monk’s mound is speculated to have been used for ritual; structures could have been built on the flat terraces that could have served as places of worship or sacrifce. This mound could have also been used for the powerful leaders in the society, a place for them to be seen by society at all times, be a constant presence in people’s lives. However, as Glenn Hodges (2011) states, “ we do not know if Cahokia had a single leader, we don’t even know what this place was called, the name Cahokia is borrowed from a tribe that lived nearby in the 1600s, or do we know what the people who lived here called themselves.” Overall, the knowledge and the data collected at Monk’s Mound are meager, and do not provide much insight into the largest human-made structure of the Mississippian
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