This project is a book chapter for Tim Pauketat and Susan Alt's edited volume, Medieval Mississippians. The book is available through SAR Press and Amazon.
In this contribution I present several new interpretations for Cahokia. Drawing upon recently acquired LiDAR imagery, as well as traditional archaeological and ethnohistoric data, I show how Cahokia was laid-out with geometric precision using nested squares and aligned along a lunar-derived azimuth. I further demonstrate how the Cahokia design squares were sized using a special unit of length. Lastly, a possible explanation is given for the intentional sacrifice of more than 260 people (mostly young women) buried in mass graves in Mound 72 - which is located on the primary site axis.
(Above: LiDAR image by William Romain from data provided by Tom Emerson and Mike Farkas,
courtesy of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey.)