News: Series of well-written articles on Cahokia from the University of Illinois
Unfortunately, most magazine and TV script writers in the United States think they have to sensationalize Native American history to make it sound like a football game or Star Wars. Meanwhile, many anthropologists think that their writing style must be incomprehensible in order to prove that they have superior intellect. The University of Illinois thinks otherwise.
The following URL will take you to a series of articles published the Life Sciences editor for the University of Illinois’s Online News. They describe the latest understanding of the great city of Cahokia. Be sure to click the tab at the bottom of the first article to see the new painting of Cahokia. The VR image above was done by POOF’s editor, but the new details about Cahokia’s site plan were not available at the time.
This understanding is VERY different than what one would have read even five years ago. One of the articles states that Cahokia was settled around 950 AD, but did not start growing dramatically until after 1050 AD. It reached its peak around 1150 AD . . . about the same time that construction stopped on the large mounds on the acropolis at Ocmulgee. Five years ago, Wikipedia told readers that Cahokia was settled around 600 AD and that construction of Monk’s Mound began around 800-900 AD. Of course, at that time, no one had actually obtained a radiocarbon date from the base of Monk’s Mound.
Construction of Mound A at Ocmulgee began around 900 AD. Construction of Monk’s Mound at Cahokia started about 150 years later, but Cahokia’s growth was explosive thereafter. Only a handful of radiocarbon dates have ever even been taken at Ocmulgee. If the town is ever comprehensively studied with modern technology, I suspect the true founding date will be more like 800 AD or earlier.
Here is the URL for the Cahokia articles:
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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