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Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site Essay

2101 words - 8 pages

Prehistoric sites display its historic beauty by the visualization of artifacts found or by its historical landmarks. These characteristics enable archaeologists to trace the evolution of societal influences among various geographic areas. Artifacts and pieces of historical land display a vast array of social, economic and religious entities that give insight to the cultural practices performed during a certain time period. A site that displays significant historical information is seen within the Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois. Native American Indians play an important role in contributing to our historical events dating back thousands of years ago. Family ties to the Native American tribes enables family members to see first hand how the prehistoric cultural, social and religious practices performed evolved into a new set of practices in our society today.
As stated previously, Cahokia is a Native American site that has a unique history to it. As a result, in 1982, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated The Cahokian Mound site a World Heritage Site in hopes of preserving the importance of prehistoric American Indian culture in North America (Delta Sources and Resources 2010:62). Cahokia is the largest Native American settlement in North America (Schilling 2012:302). Located in the central Mississippi valley in a section known as the “American Bottom” (Schilling 2012:302). Cahokia consists of at least 120 mounds spanning over five square miles (Delta Sources and Resources 2010:62). Each mound ranges in size, with some measuring only a few centimeters high to some measuring over 80 feet high. It was debated whether the mounds were natures own creation, or man made. Research conducted in the late 1960’s by Nelson Reed and colleagues examined the mounds and extracted soil samples, concluded that the mounds were man made (Schilling 2013:18).
Members of Cahokia began living at this site around A.D. 800 and construction of the site increased around A.D. 1050 (Schilling 2012:304). During this time, the population of Cahokia was suggested to be around “10,000 to 20,000 people” (Delta Sources and Resources 2010:62). Socially, this shows that Cahokia was a thriving area that displayed social statuses among the members especially in the forms of laborers and elite officials. Around A.D. 1200, a 2 km-long wooden “palisade” (Schilling 2012:304) was built that enclosed the majority of the mounds. Although there is no record of what the people called themselves, many archaeologists deemed the tribe that initially occupied Cahokia the “Mississippians”(Delta Sources and Resources 2010:63). As the Cahokia site expanded, the Mississippians began using agriculture as a means of food production. Crop production included corn, squash, pumpkins and various seed bearing plants (Delta Sources and Resources 2010:64). It is suggested that the Mississippians also hunted deer and small animals, as well as fish...

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