Cahokia. Gender roles in an ancient city.
"The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site /kəˈhoʊkiə/ (11 MS 2) is located on the site of a pre-Columbian Native American city (c. 600–1400 CE) situated directly across the Mississippi River from modern St. Louis, Missouri. This historic park lies in southern Illinois between East St. Louis and Collinsville. The park covers 2,200 acres (890 ha), or about 3.5 square miles (9 km2), and contains about 80 mounds, but the ancient city was much larger. In its heyday, Cahokia covered about 6 square miles (16 km2) and included about 120 human-made earthen mounds in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and functions.
Cahokia was the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture that developed advanced societies across much of what is now the central and southeastern United States, beginning more than 1000 years before European contact. Cahokia's population at its peak in the 13th century, an estimated 40,000, would not be surpassed by any city in the United States until the late 18th century. Today, Cahokia Mounds is considered the largest and most complex archaeological site north of the great pre-Columbian cities in Mexico." (Wikipedia)
"Archaeologists in Illinois say a prominent pre-Columbia burial mound in the famous ancient city of Cahokia was hardly a monument to masculinity, as their predecessors in the 1960s had claimed. They published their findings in several journals, including American Antiquity." (mental_floss)
"We had been checking to make sure that the individuals we were looking at matched how they had been described," said anthropologist Kristin Hedman. "And in re-examining the beaded burial, we discovered that the central burial included females. This was unexpected."
Even the notes about those two central elites were wrong. They weren't two men; they were one man and one woman. This completely changed the meaning and symbolism behind Mound 72.
"Now, we realize, we don't have a system in which males are these dominant figures and females are playing bit parts," Emerson said. "What we have at Cahokia is very much a nobility. It's not a male nobility. It's males and females, and their relationships are very important."
And this actually lines up better with some other stuff we know about this city, too. For example, a lot of the temples around Cahokia weren't dedicated to war or male power at all." (Upworthy)
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Image via Latin American Studies