Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ages Undreamed Of vol.5 Cahokia

Rivers were highways to ancient man and where the Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers meet a thriving metropolis once stood . We don't know what its inhabitants called it, but we refer to it as Cahokia.At one time it may have had a central population as high as 40,000 plus many more in is outlying suburbs. The prime reason so many could live so close together was the economic/agricultural backing of sunflower, tobacco, squash, amaranth and especially corn. So much corn could be grown in the fertile region that the surplus could be used as a trade good with far-off areas, from copper rich areas to the north, obsidian and furs to the west, mica to the east, sea shells and even sharks teeth from the south have all been found. Cahokia was likely a trade hub of ancient America.An interesting facet of the "special" buildings foundations is the preponderance of astronomical alignments. many are constructed to align with equinoxes and star paths. No temples or religious building were constructed haphazardly, points were known and carefully aligned to be in sync with celestial events. There was even a "Woodhenge" built of red cedar posts (red cedar resists decay well). At least 5 great circles of posts have been found with alignments easily identifiable for equinoxes. It appears red ochre may have covered the posts for decoration.
Because of the abundance of food, cahokians would have had the ability to develop trades and pastimes to help specialize their society. All manner of artisan work has been found as well as ball pits not unlike those found much farther south in Mexico.The average home was built of wood poles and woven grasses. I am also inclined to think these were stuccoed over as so many others I have read about were. The Temples and other such building of importance were atypically of log and hewn together in a fashion that would not be unrecognizable to our ancestors. Most all of these were also situated upon earthen mounds, the greatest of which is known as Monks Mound.Monks Mound is almost 100 feet high and constructed entirely of earth in four levels. Excavation has revealed a large building once sat on top. Estimated to have been up to 50 feet high and at 105 feet long and 48 feet wide, it was almost 5,000 square feet. Such a building would have been visible for miles on end. Monks Mound is the largest earth work in the US.

There were wooden palisades and watchtowers set up roundabout the prime section of the city and some evidence of burnings therein. There has also been found a number of what appears to be live human sacrifices and or dismemberment's-interesting because another "important" person was buried with over 20,000 fresh water pearls (You had to be supremely wealthy for such a sacred haul as that). SO in conclusion while decadence may have run its course-I would never disavow the incredibly likelihood that barbarians at the gates ended the life of the city on the highways of the past.

11 comments:

Melanie Goldmund said...

Fascinating -- thanks for posting this!

David J. West said...

Thanks Melanie-did you finish your short story?

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I *love* learning things like this. It makes me so excited to read your book.

Melanie Goldmund said...

Yes, I did, thanks for asking! :-) And I think you've submitted one as well, haven't you?

David J. West said...

Thank's Tamara- I hope these spots will give glimpses into my research and inspiration for the book.

Melanie-yes I did and I am even considering a second.

Angie said...

So interesting! Thanks for posting these. That way I don't have to do all the research by myself. :)

David J. West said...

Anytime Angie, its a passion for me even beyond research form y novels.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

David: This is fascinating! Love the pictures. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.

David J. West said...

Thank you Kathi, I look forward to meeting you at Storymakers and hope you might share a bit of book 2 (if thats OK)

elizabeth mueller said...

Hey, David! I miss your comments on my blog!

I showed my hubby your Night Wish youtube from that one post and he is such a fan now that he ran to the store and bought his own album!!! LOL

David J. West said...

Elizabeth-Have I missed a few posts of yours? My bad.