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Discovery of ancient American city hints at gender equality

New artifacts of Cahokia (Photo by L. Brian Stauffer/University of Illinois Board of Trustees)

A theory is almost five decades old environment ‘America’s 1st City”, has been debunked according to a new study, published in the journal American Antiquity.

Researchers from the Cahokia Mounds in Champaign, Illinois. dug deeper on the cemetery Mound 72 and made a surprising discovery. The hill was previously thought to be a monument to male power, that six bodies buried with objects that two men wrapped in a blanket made of beads, represents the male dominance in the city. But the researchers say that the latest findings tell a very different story.

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For starters, the funeral, also the nickname of the “beaded burial,” was found to contain 12 bodies instead of six. In addition, the researchers determined that the two central organs were not the men, surrounded by servants. Instead, they are now considered to be the remains of a man and a woman. The researchers have also determined that a child was buried on the site.

Study co-author and Illinois State Archaeological Survey (isas) Director Thomas Emerson said in a press release that the new discovery changes the whole picture of what rank and file was in Cahokia. “We don’t have a system where the males are dominant figures and women play bit parts,” he said. “And so, what we have at Cahokia is very much nobility. It is not a man of nobility. It is men and women, and their relationships are very important.”


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(Image by Julie McMahon)

Cahokia is believed to have been settled by the Late Woodland Indians around 700 AD. It is estimated that the settlement was larger than London in 1250, but by the late 1300s, it was abandoned.

The mounds are made of earth that was dug out of pits with the help of tools fashioned from wood and stone and transported on the back with the help of baskets.

Hill, 72, was discovered by archaeologist Melvin Fowler in 1967. It is believed that the inhabitants were buried in the Hill 72 between the years 1000 and 1200. Because the central bodies were discovered with beads in the shape similar to a bird, Fowler assumed that they represented mythical warrior chiefs.

The shift from a gender hierarchy of the status of the hierarchy also corresponds to what Emerson and his team have adopted.

“Most of the stone statues there are women. The symbols are shown on the pots with water and the underworld. And so now, Hill 72 fits into a more consistent story with what we know about the rest of the symbolism and religion in Cahokia,” he said.

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