Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi (Penguin's Library of American Indian History) Hardcover – July 30, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0670020904 ISBN-10: 0670020907

11 New from $16.99 37 Used from $3.47
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$16.99 $3.47
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin's Library of American Indian History
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (July 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670020907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020904
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #529,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Author and anthropologist Pauketat (Chiefdoms and Other Archaeological Delusions) locates a civilizational "big bang" in the Mississippi River valley of 1050 CE, where "social life, political organization, religious belief, art, and culture were radically transformed" by a highly ambitious group of American Indians and their capital city, Cahokia, located east of what is now St. Louis. In this illuminating text, Pauketat examines the life, death, and rediscovery of this vast urban population and their game-changing cultural innovations (ranging from innocuous but influential sports like "chunkey" to large-scale reenactments of mythical stories, featuring bloody human sacrifice). Page by page, Pauketat compiles the fascinating details of a complex archeological puzzle; explaining the study of cross-cultural goddess worship, cave art, hand tools and games, this volume doubles as a crash-course in the archeological method. Pauketat's academic approach responsibly invites opposing viewpoints, and his writing is rich in you-are-there detail, making this an archeological adventure suitable for pre-Columbian enthusiasts as well as inquisitive laymen.

About the Author

Timothy R. Pauketat is professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign. His books include Chiefdoms and Other Archaeological Delusions and Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The book is very dry and took an effort to finish.
Patrick Michael James
If you want to really understand Cahokia, then I would highly recommend that you get this book, it is a very good resource.
Kurt A. Johnson
Written for the general reader, the book brings considerable scholarship to a fascinating topic.
Susan M. Hassig

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Jay C. Smith on September 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi (Penguin's Library of American Indian History)
I am a lay reader and know very little of archeology, but I have a special affinity for Cahokia. In 1967 my friend and I camped at what was then Cahokia Mounds State Park and were able to observe close-up a dig then in progress, with helpful explanations provided by the lone archeologist on-site. It seemed so painstaking, performed with fine instruments and brushes and, in so far as we could see at the time, it uncovered only shards and fragments.

Back then archeologists still had not grasped much of the significance of the site as it is now understood. At one time they believed it to be a ritual center, occupied only briefly by a few inhabitants. It is now known to have been a major eleventh- and twelfth-century populous urban center supported by surrounding farms, an early example of a government-sponsored urban renewal, a culture that marked a radical transformation in the history of indigenous Americans.

Well-told non-fiction accounts of archeological enterprises can draw in readers much like a good mystery, and Timothy Pauketat displays something of a novelist's touch here (although do not expect "Indiana Jones"). He recounts dozens of discoveries, generally in sufficient detail for readers to evaluate for themselves the evidence the archeologists were accumulating. Pauketat, himself a noted archeologist of the Cahokia site, clearly admires many of his predecessors and he gives us enough information about several to add an appealing human element to the narrative.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Cahokia is the modern name for the remarkable prehistoric mid-Missisippi urban center that flourished from around 1050 and the subsequent 2 centuries. While population estimates vary, Cahokia proper and its immediate hinterland probably boasted a population in the 10,000s. Cahokia was unprecedented north of Mesoamerica and there were no comparably sized urban centers north of Mexico until the Colonial period. Remarkably, Cahokia appears to have emerged preciptiously in the mid-llth century without any clear precursors. The author is a leading expert on the archaeology of Cahokia and prehistoric America. Pauketat primarily focuses on the archaeology of Cahokia and how these archaeological findings can be interpreted to reconstruct crucial features of Cahokia. There is some discussion of changing perspectives in archaeology and the history of Cahokia archaeology. Pauketat makes strong efforts to place Cahokia in a very wide perspective, trying to link Cahokia to Mesoamerican civilizations and to explore the possible long-term consequences of Cahokian culture for subsequent cultures. Pauketat suggests that Cahokia arose as a "Big Bang," probably as a result of a major cultural-religous innovation that produced a major ceremonial center and a relatively complex and violent polity. Pauketat suggests that Cahokian culture and the fall of Cahokia resonated across eastern and central North America for subsequent centuries. A prominent feature is the fragmentary nature of the evidence about Cahokia and prehistoric North America. Beyond the intrinsic limitations of the archaeological record, knowledge of Cahokia is limited by the fact that much of Cahokia and related sites were destroyed prior to modern archaeological investigations.Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Susan M. Hassig on October 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Pauketat is an archeologist of the Cahokia site, a 1000 year old native American city opposite present day St. Louis on the banks of the Mississippi River. This book provides an excellent introduction to Cahokia and to the Mississippian culture. The author presents current anthropological theories and archaeological data in this single account.

Written for the general reader, the book brings considerable scholarship to a fascinating topic. Pauketat places Cahokia in a large regional context and incorporates the history of the site both as a living center and the largest and most important Native American city north of Mexico.

Pauketat's writing is far from a dry recitation of archaeological fact and trivia. He holds the lay reader's attention with his descriptive ability. Whether he is describing life as it was in this great city, explaining the game of chunkey or crediting Preston Holder, Melvin Fowler, Warren Wittry and others who were a part of the earlier generation of archaeologists of Cahokia, the narrative is not merely adequate, but spell-binding.

I highly recommend the book for general readers and specialists, alike.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robin Young on March 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'll be in Cahokia in a week so I'm reading this book to prepare. It's text is fine, but I find it HUGELY frustrating that the author hasn't bothered to illustrate the artifacts he discusses, or the rock art. I have to keep running to the internet to try to see what the heck he is talking about. It's HIGHLY unusual for an archaeological book to have one line drawing and a so so map, and NOTHING more. It seems lazy to me.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.