June 19, 2021

Radical New Research Challenges Long Held Beliefs on the Cahokia Collapse

New research shows that Cahokia was not abandoned because they cut down too many trees. Archaeologists from Washington University in St. Louis looked at the common narrative that the Cahokians deforested the area leading to erosion and flooding. 

The new team of researchers do not see evidence of flooding at the mound site they re-exacavated. In the journal Geoarchaeology, the researchers described their excavations at an earthen mound in the Cahokia Creek floodplain. The excavations showed that the ground surface of the mound remained stable until modern times. This directly challenges the wood overuse hypothesis.

Tens of thousands of trees were cut down to make palisades, but this did not cause local flooding says the team. Now new research is needed to explain the Cahokia collapse.

Washington University published their report here: