Pottery and Religion at Greater Cahokia’s Emerald Acropolis


Since 2012, large-scale survey and excavations at and around the Emerald site east of Cahokia have investigated the religious foundations of the rise of that American Indian city. Emerald was a shrine complex, where religion was performed by Cahokians and pilgrims beginning around AD 1000. Excavations have revealed dense stands of non-domestic, ceremonial and public architecture alongside seemingly temporary, short-term housing. A prominent aspect of the rituality of the place was the use of pottery, possibly produced primarily on site. We consider the contexts and metrics of the Emerald ceramic assemblage in light of other indications of the vibrancy of earth and earthen plasters. The ceramic assemblage is then compared to Cahokia and contemporaneous assemblages from the region, highlighting the singular qualities of this most unusual religious destination.

Cite this Record

Pottery and Religion at Greater Cahokia’s Emerald Acropolis. Rebecca Barzilai, Susan M. Alt, Timothy R. Pauketat. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431553)


Pottery Religion

Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14784