I think I have written a post about this story before, but after almost 3,000 posts I’ll be damned if I can find it in my archives. At any rate, NPR has an interesting article (there is a link where you can listen to an audio version as well) on a Mississippian era suburb of Cahokia. The site was discovered during the ongoing construction of a new bridge.From NPR:
Working just ahead of the cranes and earth movers that are building a stretch of the interstate freeway, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a sophisticated American Indian settlement no one knew existed.
There are remnants of more than a thousand prehistoric houses and the base of an earthen pyramid — one of dozens that would have towered above the original settlement.
Later the NPR piece says:
Some scientists think Cahokia was a powerful spiritual center, like Jerusalem or Mecca. University of Illinois anthropologist Tim Pauketat, who has studied Cahokia since the mid-1980s, says it once attracted thousands of visitors — possibly religious pilgrims.
“We can look around the eastern United States and just see a huge area in which we can identify Cahokian objects, suggesting that people from Wisconsin, Louisiana, over to Georgia even, Oklahoma, at least, occasionally came in and then went home with something from here,” he says.
This is an interesting interpretation of Cahokia and you can find out more about this kind of approach here.
The archaeologists involved would like to get federal government to buy the land but that doesn’t look like it is going to happen…