Agricultural Communities and the Rise of Cahokia: Evidence from Seeds

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 15:00
, Natalie - Washington University in St. Louis

Humans are the ultimate ecosystem engineers, and in transforming ecosystems we also change the selective environment for the plants and animals that live among us. The bodies and behaviors of domesticated plants and animals are thus rich artifacts of traditional ecological knowledge and practice. I study the morphology and behavior of domesticated plants as a proxy for ancient agricultural communities of practice. Evidence from the anlalysis archaebotanical assemblages sites in the American Bottom and Lower Mississippi River indicate the formation of distinct agricultural communities of practice prior to and during the coalescence of eastern North America's first and only pre-Columbian urban center, c. 1050 CE.