Cahokia: City of the Cosmos [Paperback]

John E. Kelly (Author); James A. Brown (Author)

Regular Price: £38.00

Special Price: £28.50

ISBN: 9781785708855 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: American Landscapes | Volume: 6 | Publication: December 2023 | Language: English 256p, H246 x W189 (mm) b/w and colour
Status: Not yet published - advance orders taken



The large American Indian city of Cahokia sits amidst a diverse natural landscape within the larger central Mississippi river valley. Well positioned on the rich agricultural soils of the Mississippi river bottomlands of the Amercan Bottom it is at the core of a cultural landscape that its residents helped shape. In this volume the editors and authors attempt to not just focus on Cahokia and its configuration but also the other towns and settlements dispersed throughout the region extant for nearly four centuries.

The importance of Cahokia to native peoples and to the world community as a UNESCO World Heritage site resides in its creation as a ‘Cosmological Center of the Universe’. In order to begin comprehending where we are today in an interpretation that respects and pays homage to those that were instrumental in its conception and the implementation of a vision, one must understand the principles that underlie the Indigenous cosmology and rituals of Eastern North America. Mapping the mounds began as early as the late 18th century and thus represents the first efforts to depict what was readily seen.

Over 300 sites with earthen mounds have been documented in the region and range from isolated mounds honoring the dead thousands of years ago to an array of over 100 mounds in the case of Cahokia that in some instances honored the ancestors individually and collectively.

The editor’s investigations over nearly 25 years have helped elucidate the significance of Cahokia as an urban center and the processes leading to its creation. The history of this sacred place is highlighted by a number of major discontinuities that represent intellectual ‘axis mundi’ of this discussion. However, it is the broader landscape perspectives over the centuries that serve to illuminate the vibrant colors of this narrative.

Table of Contents

1. Reading a ritual landscape: an historical introduction, John Kelly
2. The building and creation of an ancient Amerindian urban landscape, John Kelly and Jim Brown
3. Mapping onto a natural landscape, Caitlin anken, JulieAnn Van Ness, Lucretia Kelly, Katie Parker, Neal Lopinot and Gayle Fritz
4. Pre-Cahokian foundations, Jim Dincan. Carol Diaz Granados, and John Kelly
5. Designing an urban center: cosmic principles, Jim Brown, John Kelly, Tim Schilling, Imma Valese and Davide Domenici
6. The corporate and symbolic meanings of crafting, Mary Beth Trubitt, Lori Belknap and Kathy Erhardt
7. Coming together to create a regional cultural landscape, John Kelly and Jim Brown
8. Reconfiguing the landscape: the Moorehead Moment, John Kelly, Jim Brown, Mary Beth Trubitt and Bill Iseminger
9. The tribalization of Cahokia and its abandonment, Jim Brown and John Kelly
10. Concluding thoughts and directions, Jim Brown and John Kelly

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