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BRITARCH  February 2000

BRITARCH February 2000

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Subject:

Re: COHOKIA

From:

Bea Hopkinson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bea Hopkinson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 5 Feb 2000 21:11:44 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

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Michelle,

     >Why a town?  Well, it had 20-30,000 people, a ceremonial center(s) 
including 
     >a "wood henge" for astronomy, a large trading plaza, a large number 
of 
     >single 
     >family dwellings all around it, it was near a major river for 
transport, and 
     >the stockade must have had some defensive use but probably wouldn't 
have 
     >served as a castle-like structure.  The reconstructed stockade is 
similar to 
     >the forts built by the American cavalry during the wars with the 
Indians.  I 
     >did think it was interesting that the stockade had bastions.  The 
richest 
     >grave found so far and trading goods from as far away as Mexico and 
     >throughout central and south eastern North America.

Whow, this really was a town, with single family dwellings, far-flung 
trading, wood
henge and plaza as well as stockade.  20-30,000 population I guess comes 
from the
dwellings and graves?  I am wondering why this has not been better 
publicized (at least
outside American-Indian studies)?  There was of course another major 
settlement:  the
cliff dwellings of Utah (?), but I have never heard that described as a 
"town".  They
were agriculturalists and farmed the Mesa above their cliff dwellings 
until the drought
forced them away.  I wonder what the food source of Cohokia was?

     >some mornings going to work I would get the see the sun come up 
     >over the great mound....
I had a similar experience at Catal hoyuk in Turkey and know how that 
feels to think of
these long ago occupants.  Do you have any idea of the dating and length 
of occupation of the mound? 

Clearly, this is not really my field, but I am curious.

Bea
     



On 2/4/2000 3:31 PM [log in to unmask] writes:

>In a message dated 2/4/0 6:58:22 PM,  Bea writes:
>
><<  Isn't this a little like the prehistoric hillforts in Britain?  And
>the Tels of the near east?
>     Sorry, havn't been following this thread too closely.  Why did they 
>designate these mounds as 'towns'? >>
>
>First let me say that I have not read the reports or even the secondary 
>literature.  My interest is merely in that it is very close to where I grew 
>up. In fact, some mornings going to work I would get the see the sun come up 
>over the great mound.... 
>
>Being an amateur with little background, I'm not sure what an eastern Tel is 
>but it is unlike any hill British hill fort I've read about. First of all, 
>the hill is man made.  Not a single rock larger than gravel in the whole of 
>any of the mounds. I believe I have read that there was a very conscious 
>construction and layering of clay and top soil to create the mounds. They 
>are 
>mostly large flat topped platforms of various sizes. I heard recently that 
>ground penetrating radar had found a structure at the core of the largest 
>mound but they don't know if it is for structural support of the mound or 
>perhaps a burial chamber. Either way it would destroy the mound to get to 
>it. 
> I was just there this fall actually to take pictures for an English friend 
>(maybe if I can find a scanner I could put them online). The fortifications 
>are very late in the life of the settlement.  The stockade only protected 
>the 
>core of the complex (although that is quite large) and was built at ground 
>level. The center largest mound doesn't appear to have any fortifications or 
>defensive functions.  
>
>Why a town?  Well, it had 20-30,000 people, a ceremonial center(s) including 
>a "wood henge" for astronomy, a large trading plaza, a large number of 
>single 
>family dwellings all around it, it was near a major river for transport, and 
>the stockade must have had some defensive use but probably wouldn't have 
>served as a castle-like structure.  The reconstructed stockade is similar to 
>the forts built by the American cavalry during the wars with the Indians.  I 
>did think it was interesting that the stockade had bastions.  The richest 
>grave found so far and trading goods from as far away as Mexico and 
>throughout central and south eastern North America. 
>
>I think I have come across a couple of books on Cahokia in local bookstores. 
>The museum also sells some of the excavation reports. You might be able to 
>access those through the official web site (or at least instructions to 
>get a 
>copy).
>
>Michelle Ziegler 


Beatrice Hopkinson 73071,327@compuserve



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