While Mayan and Aztec civilizations are widely known and documented, relatively few people are familiar with the largest prehistoric Native American city north of Mexico-a site that expert Timothy Pauketat brings vividly to life in this groundbreaking book. Almost a thousand years ago, a city flourished along the Mississippi River near what is now St. Louis. Built around a sprawling central plaza and known as Cahokia, the site has drawn the attention of generations of archaeologists, whose work produced evidence of complex celestial timepieces, feasts big enough to feed thousands, and disturbing signs of human sacrifice. Drawing on these fascinating finds, Cahokia presents a lively and astonishing narrative of prehistoric America.
Using archaeological evidence gathered from ancient America, especially case material from the Great Plains and the pre-Columbian American Indian city of Cahokia, Timothy Pauketat explores the logical consequences of these two fundamental questions. Religious beliefs are not more resilient than other aspects of culture and society, and people are not the only causes of historical change.
An Archaeology of the Cosmos examines the intimate association of agency and religion by studying how relationships between people, places, and things were bundled together and positioned in ways that constituted the fields of human experience. This rethinking theories of agency and religion provides readers with challenging and thought provoking conclusions that will lead them to reassess the way they approach the past.