February 11, 2017

New Research into the Rise and Fall of Cahokia

Researchers at Cahokia had theorized that the large Mississippian sites, including Cahokia, began to build during an unusually warm period and began to decline during the Little Ice Age. New research on ancient layers of calcite crystals in layers of mud in an Indiana lake show that the Mississippi Valley began to get more rain in the 10th century, when corn began to thrive at around 950 CE, as shown in the skeletal remains at the time. Cahokia began to explode with growth at the time. Around 1200 CE, a new Ice Age began with drought at 1350 CE. This lasted for 500 years. Large conflicts began at 1250 CE, with more palisades being built, burned villages, more skeletal injuries like decapitation. Mississippians began to abandon their cities and moved south. A contributing factor would have been in-migration of different groups into the large centers like Cahokia in the good times. When the droughts began, migrant infighting may have also contributed to the collapse.

NPR has the story here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Mississippians and Mound Builders

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Mississippian World Magazine

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Mississippian Art, Religion, and Iconography Magazine

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