Click For Photo: https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/2019/womenshapedc.jpg
Archaeologists have struggled to explain the rapid rise and fall of Cahokia—the mysterious Mississippian mound-building culture that sprang up about a thousand years ago in the fertile southern Illinois bottom lands just across the river from modern-day St. Louis.
Scholars have painted the civilization as a hierarchical, highly centralized society where ruling elites demanded tribute from lowly peasant farmers who toiled in a culture spiritually obsessed with and highly dependent upon the cultivation of corn.
Doubt - Farming - Civilization - Lifeblood - Book
While there's little doubt that farming was the civilization's lifeblood, a new book by a paleoethnobiologist at Washington University in St. Louis offers a compelling case for a much different understanding of the Cahokian culture.
The book also offers a road map for the rediscovery and possible recultivation of an array of highly nutritious wild food sources, including a North American cousin of quinoa, that were once a staple part of the early American diet.
Story - Cahokia - Maize - Decisions - Group
"The real story of Cahokia is about much more than maize and decisions made by a small group of elites," said Gayle Fritz, professor emerita of anthropology in Arts & Sciences and author of "Feeding Cahokia: Early Agriculture in the North American Homeland" (2019 University of Alabama Press).
"It's clear that the vast majority of Cahokia's farmers were women and it's likely that their critical knowledge of domesticated crops and wild food plants would have earned them positions of power and respect at every level of the society," she said.
UNESCO - World - Heritage - Site - Cahokia
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Cahokia Mounds complex was the site of North America's largest and most populous city prior to European exploration.
Reaching its apex in the early years of the first millennium (1050 to 1200 A.D.), the city and immediately surrounding region boasted a population in the tens of thousands and exerted influence over other native settlements scattered across a wide swath...
Wake Up To Breaking News!