Paradigms lost: Reconfiguring Cahokia's mound 72 Beaded Burial

Thomas E. Emerson, Kristin M. Hedman, Eve A. Hargrave, Dawn E. Cobb, Andrew R. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Beaded Burial central to F101 within Cahokia's mound 72Sub1 has been fundamental to some cosmological explanations of the founding of this North American precolumbian polity. The central burial, identified as two males surrounded by retainers, has been interpreted as paradigmatic of a paramount chiefdom, or conversely, as a mythic cosmogram. Recent bioarchaeological reanalysis and two independent osteological studies of F101 and associated burials have identified the presence of male/female pairs, numerous females, and at least one child, suggesting that previous explanations privileging the male Red Horn association should be reexamined. We suggest that 72Sub1 is most likely correlated with ritual practices promoting world creation, renewal, and fertility symbolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-425
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


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