June 5, 2023

That finding is in line with our knowledge of Kahokian agriculture, says Jane Mt. Pleasant Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Sciences at Cornell University who was not involved in the study. While the Cahokians cleared some land in the highlands, Dr. Pleasant said the amount of land used remained stable. While heavy plowing techniques quickly depleted the soil and cleared forests for new farmland, Cahokians used hand tools to carefully manage their rich landscape.

Dr. Pleasant, who is from Tuscarora, said that most academics believe that “indigenous peoples got it all wrong”. But she said, “There is simply no evidence that Cahokian farmers caused any kind of environmental trauma.”

If anything, says John E. Kelly, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis, The explanation of a Cahokia ravaged by exposed cliffs and floods actually reflects how later European settlers used the region’s land. In the 1860s, cliffs upstream of Cahokia were cleared for coal mining, resulting in enough localized flooding to bury some sites of the settlement. Deforestation in Europe has created a deep layer of eroded sediments that differs from the soils of the floodplains before contact.

“What Caitlin did in a very simple way is to look at the evidence, and there is very little evidence to support the Western view of what the Aborigines are doing,” said Dr. Kelly.

Then why did Cahokia disappear? Environmental factors such as the Little Ice Age drought (1303-1860) may have played a role in the city’s slow abandonment. But changes in the politics and culture of the residents should not be overlooked. Said pleasantly. By the 1300s, many of the great hills of central Cahokia were deserted, and city life seemed to have shifted to something more decentralized. The peoples of Cahokia did not disappear either; Some eventually became the Osage Nation.

Outside of natural disasters like the volcanic eruption that destroyed Pompeii, a city doesn’t give up all at once. It is more of a natural development when people slowly move out of an urban environment that no longer meets their needs.