Archaeological Investigations on the Emerald Avenue, a Potential Mississippian Period Roadway in Southwestern Illinois

B. Jacob Skousen, Timothy H. Larson, Elizabeth Watts Malouchos, Jeffery D. Kruchten, Rebecca M. Barzilai, Susan M. Alt, Timothy R. Pauketat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this paper, we present our investigations on the Emerald Avenue, a potential Mississippian period (a.d. 1050–1400) roadway in southwestern Illinois. It is hypothesized that this road connected the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to the Emerald Acropolis, a shrine complex 24 km to the east. To confirm the presence of the Emerald Avenue and document its physical characteristics and chronology, we performed an electrical resistivity tomography survey, magnetometer survey, and excavations on portions of the Avenue near the Acropolis. These investigations revealed that the Avenue is an early 19th century road that was used by early Euro-American settlers in the area. We present evidence that suggests that this historic road was actually a reused pre-Columbian route, possibly the Mississippian period Emerald Avenue. The presence of a Mississippian period road connecting the Emerald Acropolis to other important places throughout the region indicates that religious journeys were conducted throughout Cahokia’s history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-393
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Volume45
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

Keywords

  • Cahokia
  • Emerald Acropolis
  • Roads
  • pilgrimage
  • procession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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