Monumental Construction at Cahokia, a geoarchaeological perspective

Author(s): Amber Laubach; Sarah Baires

Year: 2016


Monumental Construction at Cahokia, a geoarchaeological perspective

Amber Laubach and Sarah E. Baires

Examining Pre-Columbian earthen mounds from both a macro and micro-scale lens can reveal geotechnical knowledge of construction as well as the cultural significance of this pervasive past practice in the Eastern Woodlands. Micromorphology soil samples provide a rich volume of data to examine fine-grained construction fill composition, pedogenic activity and the relative rate of monumental construction. These geoarchaeological methods are capable of providing meaningful re-constructions of past practice. In this poster we examine micromorphological soil samples recovered from two pre-Columbian non-domestic construction projects from Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in southern Illinois. These samples were obtained from a ridge-top mortuary mound (Mound 66) and the Rattlesnake Causeway both monumental features dating to Cahokia’s formative years (ca. AD 1050-1150). Our analysis will examine past construction methods, estimate rate of construction for both the Causeway and the burial mound, and will determine types of deposits utilized in construction. Further, we will utilize these data to understand the broader social significance of mound and causeway construction projects to examine their impact on Cahokia’s early years as a burgeoning city.

Cite this Record

Monumental Construction at Cahokia, a geoarchaeological perspective. Amber Laubach, Sarah Baires. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405118)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;