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Did a large flood doom the city of Cahokia ?

Posted on Friday, 1 November, 2013 | Comment icon 6 comments

The Monks Mound at the site of Cahokia. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Skubasteve834

New research has suggested that a flood may have brought about the demise of the ancient American city.

Cahokia has been the subject of much study due to its mysterious decline just 300 years after it sprang in to existence on a Mississippi flood plain. What happened to the city and its inhabitants has never been fully understood, but now a new research effort may finally be able to shed some light on it.

Sediment cores retrieved from a lake near to the city's location seem to indicate that widespread flooding took place in the region at around 1200 BC, the time when the previously thriving city of Cahokia took a sudden turn for the worse.

While the waters would not have been enough to completely destroy the city, they would have had a devastating impact on the surrounding farmland and settlements. With these resources gone, much of the 15,000 strong population would have been eventually forced to move on.

Source: National Geographic | Comments (6)

Tags: Cahokia

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by The Black Ghost on 2 November, 2013, 1:38
Very cool. I have always wanted to visit the site from my home state. No one seems to know about it...sadly.
Comment icon #2 Posted by YukiEsmaElite0 on 4 November, 2013, 18:12
It would seem a good reason for the city to disperse, but wouldn't someone know of it instead of nobody knowing what happened?
Comment icon #3 Posted by cerberusxp on 6 November, 2013, 1:33
Indian legend in Oklahoma "A wave that reached the sky came out of the North and swept over the land". Perhaps there were very few survivors and went down as lore in obscurity. In the southwest was a similar legend that only two survivors made it to the top of the tallest hill in the region near the four corners area known as Ship Rock in New Mexico. Around 12,000 years ago water swept over the lands of the whole earth similar stories from all over the globe. The lands of China was flooded for nearly 50 years before the water subsided. Netherlands two survivors in a cave. All ancien... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Myles on 18 November, 2013, 15:37
[sub]Next to the Mississippi gives a flood some legitimacy.[/sub] [sub]The other thought is that the area was just worn out. Deforestation, overhunting and too much waste making it unhealthy to stay there. There certainly is allot we don't know. What happened to a city of 20,000 - 40,000? Where did they settle? [/sub] [sub]What other "tribes" have Cahokian traditions? It appears that sacrifice was prevelent with the Cahokia people. [/sub]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Piney on 19 November, 2013, 12:33
It was actually a lot of localized glacier lake flooding, Lake Hudson washed down the East Coast as far as Virginia (Donofrio and Cresson) Lake Iroquois created the Mississippi River, then Lake Missoula washed the Northwestern Plains. But nothing reached the Southwest. Missoula made a hard turn into the Pacific in Northern California. The Shiprock Legend belonged to the Dene', who actually didn't come down into the Southwest until between 1100 and 1200 A.D. and that was because of a volcanic eruption in Alaska a few centuries earlier. ( just woke up and having my coffee so I'm... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Myles on 19 November, 2013, 12:48
Interesting. I didn't realize the Mississippi was created by Lake Iroquois. I thought it was Glacier created.

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