Trempealeau entanglements: An ancient colony's causes and effects

Timothy R. Pauketat, Robert F. Boszhardt, Danielle M. Benden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Archaeological investigations at the Trempealeau and Fisher Mounds Site Complexes in western Wisconsin have provided definitive evidence of settlements and platform mounds in a portion of the Upper Mississippi Valley dating to the early Cahokian era, immediately prior to A.D. 1050 and ending before A.D. 1100. The presence of Cahokian earthen constructions, wall-trench buildings, ceramics, and imported stone tools associated with likely religious buildings and a series of possible farmsteads 900 river km north of Cahokia points to a unique intrusive occupation. We suggest that Trempealeau was a religious installation located proximate to a powerful, storied landform on the Mississippi River that afforded Cahokians access to the animate forces of that region. Probably built by and for Cahokians with minimal involvement on the part of living local people, the timing of this occupation hints at its close relationship to the founding of the American Indian city to the south.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-289
Number of pages30
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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