Cahokia Mounds - Illinois city AD 800-1400

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PokerBass
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Cahokia Mounds - Illinois city AD 800-1400

Post#1 » Sun Apr 01, 2007 11:51 am

I've heard of the Ohio mounds, but, this is the first I've seen anything of Illinois.

d

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Cahokia Mounds - Illinois - AD 800 to 1400

http://www.cahokiamounds.com


The remnants of the Mississippian's central city - now known as Cahokia for the Indians who lived nearby in the late 1600s - are preserved within the 2200-acre tract that is the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Located just eight miles east of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, near Collinsville, Illinois.

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Cahokia Mounds the CITY OF THE SUN

A thousand years ago, a civilization more sophisticated and more powerful than any other in the Western Hemisphere north of Mexico grew up and florished in the rich Mississippi River bottom land of southwestern Illinois.

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Entrance mural; depicting central Cahokia around AD 1100, viewed from the south with the Twin Mounds in the foreground, in the Grand Plaza, and Monks Mound in the distance. Painting by L. K. Townsend.

PokerBass
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feathered serpent

Post#2 » Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:07 pm

One thing that struck me when surfing this site was the images found on some stones. The pictures showed "bird-men" on one side with a criss cross pattern on the reverse which is assumed to be a snake skin reference.

While it's not proposed anywhere that I've seen so far, this does seem familiar to related features of Quetzalcoatl in Aztec culture. Is this a later portrayal of the feathered serpent (also described as a bearded white man) who promised to return?

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Swansea woman donates birdman tablet to Mounds

Post#3 » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:08 am

http://www.belleville.com/mld/bellevill ... lle_living

Posted on Tue, Apr. 03, 2007

Swansea woman donates birdman tablet to Mounds
BY TERI MADDOX
News-Democrat


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Steve Nagy/News-Democrat
The Kassly-Schaefer Birdman Tablet is on display in the interpretive-center lobby at Cahokia Mounds.


Archaeologists aren't sure why Mississippian Indians engraved small sandstone tablets with birdman images and crosshatching 1,000 years ago.

Maybe the tablets were used as visual aids for spiritual storytelling. Maybe they were dipped in dye and stamped on deerskin to create patterns.

"Maybe (a tablet) was displayed when you were traveling from one place to another," said Bill Iseminger, assistant site manager at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville. "It was a passport to show your rank or status or authority."

Whatever their purpose, the tablets are considered archaeologically significant because they provide rare pictures from an ancient culture.

Cahokia Mounds has a newly discovered Mississippian tablet, thanks to Elizabeth Kassly, 50, of Swansea, who donated it to the historic site. It's now on display in the interpretive-center lobby.

"I think it was just meant to be at Cahokia Mounds," said Kassly, a contract archaeologist with Powell Archaeological Research Center in Fairmont City. "Because of its potential, because of the stories it can tell."

The tablet actually is half a tablet because one side is broken off. It's about the size of a playing card, only thicker. It's estimated at 800 years old.

Kassly found the tablet in 2000 while surface collecting on a farm near Valmeyer in her free time. It's known as the Kassly-Schaefer Birdman Tablet because Vernon Schaefer owns the farm.

The front shows a birdman's dotted torso, fringed kilt-like garment and outstretched right wing, and a rattlesnake-like image across the top. Crosshatching covers the back.

"Birdman symbolism of similar hawk or falcon dancers is common in Mississippian iconography," according to interpretive materials. "... The meaning here is not clear with part of the left side and the head missing and the snake element in place of it, but raptorial birds are known to represent the 'upperworld' (spiritual world), humans 'this world' and snakes the 'underworld.'"

Cahokia Mounds is the former location of an American Indian city that flourished from about 950 to 1350 with a peak population of 15,000 to 20,000 residents known as Mississippians.

The historic site has portions of several sandstone tablets, but only one that's whole. It was found during a 1971 archaeological dig near Monks Mound.

That tablet is engraved with a different birdman image. It serves as the historic site's logo and appears on area highway bridges.

Officials believe the Kassly-Schaefer Birdman Tablet may have been engraved in the Cahokia Mounds area. The Mississippian artist probably used a flint tool.

"The thought is, maybe (tablets) were made here and distributed or carried to other places as Cahokia's influence spread," Iseminger said. "It could have even been like missionaries spreading the word about their beliefs."

Contact reporter Teri Maddox at tmaddox@bnd.com or 345-7822, ext. 26.

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