New evidence establishes for the first time that Cahokia, a sprawling, pre-Columbian city situated at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, hosted a sizable population of immigrants.
This small clay vessel was made in eastern Oklahoma but found at Cahokia. In the past it was interpreted as a trade item, but now it seems more likely it was brought by an immigrant who moved to Cahokia in the 12th century.
Credit: L. Brian Stauffer
Cahokia was an early experiment in urban life, said Thomas Emerson, who led the new analysis. Emerson is Illinois state archaeologist and the director of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey at the University of Illinois.
Researchers have traditionally thought of Cahokia as a relatively homogeneous and stable population drawn from the immediate area, he said. “But increasingly archaeologists are realizing that Cahokia at AD 1100 was very likely an urban center with as many…
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