Standing tall in the center of America was Cahokia, the most advanced pre-Columbian city the west has ever had and one millennium later, it still remains as the most complex archaeological site in the west.
In its time, Cahokia was a mega marvel, an ancient Manhattan and the heart of America, second only to the lost city of Atlantis. It stood on fertile soil and people from all walks of life and a hundred miles away flocked to the city at its peak.
The city is shrouded by mystery and continues to be a big headache for researchers in terms of its origins. No one really knows what started Cahokia, or what ended it. Using evidence recovered on the site, it is possible to draw a hypothesis.
Presenting The Lost City Of Cahokia: 10 Theories About What Took Place There.
10 Cahokia Was Equivalent To A Modern-Day New York City
According to scholars, Cahokia was not just the center of America but the entire world, an imperialist city-state that was advanced but fell off the map for unknown reasons. To this day, historians are still baffled by its mystique and many consider it one of the greatest marvels of ancient America.
9 Doubled As A Pilgrimage Destination And A Center Of Commerce For Native Americans
Cahokia is comparable to Mecca, where tribes from all walks flock to religious gatherings where they praise deities, often by barbaric means. Plazas were littered around town, and spiritual and political leaders would meet at the biggest mound (Monk's Mound) and everyone was blinded by religion.
8 These Planted The Seeds For An Agricultural Revolution
Cahokians relied heavily on corn and the fertile land contributed to its prosperity and growth. All day, "commoners" would endlessly cultivate plots and all of this led to a population boost. Archaeologists have unearthed some preserved plant species on site, such as goosefoot, amaranth, and canary grass.
7 Its Residents May Have Conducted Rituals Involving Human Sacrifice
To please the gods, Cahokians embarked in ritualized "cleansing" and they would often take beautiful, young women and bring them to the heavens in hopes of a fruitful year. These outrageous acts were heavily recorded and in 2015, researchers found out that victims were all locals and not foreign captives.
6 Where Over 120 Mounds (Or "Earth Pyramids") Were Used As Mass Graves
After the sick Pagan rituals, its residents would conduct mass burials in mounds, the most popular one being "Mound 72." The site would've reeked of death and the ceremonial area was constructed with markings, showing the Equinox sunset and sunrise. On the opposite side, however, another mound was created for more "elitist" burials.
5 Chunkey Was The City's Favorite Pastime
In 600 CE, Chunkey was invented in Cahokia. A hardcore sport, natives would often gamble and there are even accounts of losers taking their own lives. The game is played by rolling discs and hurling spears at the said stones, the nearest spear thrown would result in a win. It was so popular that Cahokians crafted figures of Chunkey players, as some sort of a mighty mythological creature.
4 Researchers Speculate That It May Have Been The Most Diverse Region At The Time
No one really knows the true origins of the Cahokians, but researchers suggest that nomads were responsible for the birth of this city with a third of the whole population coming from tribes over a hundred miles away. Different cultures blended into this boiling pot and one thing led to another and the rest is history.
3 "Cahokia" Isn't The City's Real Name (No One Knows What Language "Cahokians" Spoke Or What They Looked Like)
Up to this day, Cahokia is still shrouded in mystery and archaeologists can't come to a final conclusion. Cahokia is a legend, even the name is a "misnomer" and named after a tribe that didn't set foot in the city until after over 1000 years. With technology getting more advanced, hopefully we could get a glimpse into this beautiful city, Cahokia, the modern "Garden of Eden."
2 Its Disappearance Has Been Attributed To Massive Floods (Mississippi Is Flood-Prone)
Nothing lasts forever, not even Babylon is invincible. City planning obviously wasn't as advanced before and this led to the Cahokians' demise, as the whole city stood on the floodplains of the Mississippi river and their doom was inevitable. Recently, flood gates were installed to help preserve the grounds, just after a few centuries.
1 Or Even A Tribal Takeover (But None Have Been Proven To This Day)
Another acceptable theory of Cahokia's downfall might have been a hostile takeover of neighboring bandits in which the whole city was pillaged and burned to the ground until either its residents fought to the death or fled to other camps. And when Cahokia was drained of all resources, it then eventually got erased from the map.