Farmland, Forest, and Floods in the Cahokia Area, Illinois

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 09:00
, Sissel - University of Wisconsin-Madison
, Samuel - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Paleoethnobotanical information, high resolution pollen and carbon isotope data, and paleo-flood records spanning from AD 200-2000 document the entwined nature of climate, ecology, and culture in the Cahokia area, a Mississippian city that emerged around AD 1050 in the Mississippi River valley near modern-day St. Louis, MO. We review the evidence for changing land use practices associated with the emergence, florescence, and senescence of Native American occupation between about AD 450 and 1350. We discuss the implications of a large flood that occurred between AD 1100 and 1260, and explore how the ecological, demographic, and sociopolitical consequences of this event might have varied depending on the seasonal timing of the flood.