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Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos.Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos
Sally A. Kitt Chappell

2002
University of Chicago Press
ISBN 0226101363

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Book Description From the Dust Jacket

"At the turn of the last millennium, a powerful Native American civilization emerged and flourished in the American Midwest. By 1050 C.E. the population of its capital city, Cahokia, was larger than that of London. Its technology was Stone Age, yet its culture fostered widespread commerce, refined artistic expression, and monumental architecture. The model for this urbane world was nothing less than the cosmos itself. The climax of their ritual center, a four-tiered pyramid covering fourteen acres, rose more than a hundred feet. This beautifully illustrated book traces the history of this six-square-mile area in the central Mississippi Valley from the Big Bang to the present.

"Chappell seeks to answer fundamental questions about this unique space, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. How did this swampy land become so amenable to human life? Who were the remarkable people who lived here before the Europeans came? Why did the whole civilization disappear so rapidly? And finally, what can we learn about ourselves as we look into the changing meaning of Cahokia through the ages?

"To explore these questions, Chappell probes a wide range of sources, including the work of astronomers, geographers, geologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Archival photographs and newspaper accounts, as well as interviews with those who work at the site and Native Americans, bring the story up to the present.

"Tying together these many threads, Chappell weaves a rich tale of how different people conferred their values on the same piece of land and how the transformed landscape, in turn, inspired different values in them--cultural, spiritual, agricultural, economic, and humanistic."


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Prologue

Introduction: A Deep Time Study

1. Cahokia in Its Natural Setting: A Special Place within a Special Place

2. Human Beings Enter the Americas: Paleo-Indians, Archaic and Woodland Groups, and Emergent Mississippians

3. Cahokia: Cosmic Landscape Architecture

4. French Explorers, Trappers, Priests, and Monks

5. Nineteenth-Century Turmoil

6. Early Twentieth-Century Cahokia: Setting the Stage

7. Modern Cahokia: A Critical Mass at a Critical Time

Epilogue

Notes

Bibliography

Credits for Illustrations

Index