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The Cahokia Civilization for Unit 1 of AP World History

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Dec 24, 2023

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Have you heard of the Cahokia civilization? The Cahokia people are often referred to as the “lost civilization,” as they quietly disappeared hundreds of years ago. But who were they, and why did they disappear? In this article, we will explore the history of the Cahokia civilization and uncover why it was so significant in world history. This extraordinary society flourished in what is now the American Midwest from approximately 700 to 1400 CE. By using archaeological and written evidence, we will uncover the secrets of the Cahokia and learn why it was one of the greatest civilizations of its time. So dive into this article and explore the ancient world of the Cahokia people for AP World History.




You can read and watch videos on the Cahokia Civilization using Google Slides, or you can scroll down to read on the website.



Cahokia Mound
Cahokia Mound 1962573625/Shutterstock

Cahokia

The Cahokia was an ancient Native American city located in present-day Collinsville, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. Cahokia was the largest pre-Columbian city in North America and was part of the Mississippian culture, which thrived between approximately 800 AD and 1350 AD.


Mound Complex: Cahokia is most famous for its earthen mounds, which are arranged in a complex layout. The largest and most prominent of these mounds is known as Monk’s Mound, which stands at over 100 feet tall and covers more than 14 acres. Monk’s Mound served as the central platform for the city’s leadership and religious ceremonies.


Cahokia Woodhenge: Adjacent to Monk’s Mound is the Cahokia Woodhenge, a circle of wooden posts believed to have been used for solar and lunar observations, as well as for scheduling important agricultural and ceremonial events.


Mound 72: Mound 72 is another significant mound at Cahokia, known for its archaeological findings. Excavations at this site revealed numerous burials and ceremonial objects, including a burial of a man believed to be an important figure. The findings suggest complex burial and religious practices.


Population and Society: At its peak, Cahokia is estimated to have had a population of between 10,000 and 20,000 people. The society was characterized by a complex social structure, with a ruling elite and various classes of workers and artisans.


Agriculture: The people of Cahokia practiced maize agriculture, relying on a maize-based diet. They constructed extensive raised fields to cultivate maize and other crops, demonstrating advanced agricultural techniques.


Trade Networks: Cahokia had trade networks that extended across a wide geographic area. Materials such as copper, mica, shells, and pottery from distant regions have been found at the site, indicating the city’s role as a trade hub.


Decline: The reasons for Cahokia’s decline remain the subject of debate among archaeologists. Factors such as environmental changes, resource depletion, and social upheaval are considered possible contributors to the city’s decline.




Would you prefer to watch a video about Cahokia?



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Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Dec 24, 2023

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