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A 1000-Year Record of Cahokia Region Population Change through Fecal Stanol Biomarker Analysis

Author(s): AJ White ; Lora Stevens ; Varenka Lorenzi

Year: 2017

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Determining the timing and magnitude of Cahokia’s demographic rise and fall is crucial to understanding the reasons for its advance and collapse. Fecal stanol biomarker analysis is an emergent geoarchaeological method that may provide a more direct record of Cahokia region population change than previous population estimates. This study analyzed sediment from Horseshoe Lake, Illinois for fecal stanol content to establish a population proxy of the Cahokia region. The stanol record indicates Cahokia region population increased during the Terminal Late Woodland (900-1050 AD), declined during the Stirling phase (1100-1200 AD) and continued to approximately 1400 AD, confirming previous population estimates. The study is the first to provide continuous demographic information from Cahokia's founding to the historic period. The results of this study suggest biochemical indicators may be used alongside traditional archaeological data to evaluate past demographic events.

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A 1000-Year Record of Cahokia Region Population Change through Fecal Stanol Biomarker Analysis. AJ White, Lora Stevens, Varenka Lorenzi. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430243)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17594

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America