The Emerald Acropolis: Elevating the moon and water in the rise of Cahokia

Timothy R. Pauketat, Susan M. Alt, Jeffery D. Kruchten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

In the mid eleventh century AD, Cahokia emerged as a substantial Mississippian urban centre. To the east, a shrine-complex known as the Emerald Acropolis, marking the beginning of a processional route to the city, also flourished. Excavations and geophysical survey of the monumental landscape around this site suggest that lunar cycles were important in the orientation of structures and settlement layout. They further indicate that water played a significant role in the ritual activities associated with the closure and abandonment of individual structures. The contemporary development of these sites suggests an intrinsic connection between them, and provides early evidence of the importance that the moon and water came to assume in Mississippian culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-222
Number of pages16
JournalAntiquity
Volume91
Issue number355
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Keywords

  • Cahokia
  • Mississippian
  • eleventh century AD
  • lunar cycle
  • water ritual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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