The Ancient City on the Mississippi

Download Audio
090903cahokia250The biggest city on American soil that you never heard of vanished a thousand years ago.

Cahokia, near St. Louis today, was bigger in its time than London — and its story reads now like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.

It had pyramids, temples, a “wood henge” for telling time — and organized mass human sacrifices on the Mississippi. It influenced almost every American native tribe — and the Cahokia site today is helping change our understanding of pre-Columbian America.

This hour, On Point: the ancient metropolis America forgot.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

Tim Pauketat, professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His new book is "Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi." His other books include, "Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians" and "The Ascent of Chiefs: Cahokia and Mississippian Politics in Native North America."
You can read an excerpt from "Cahokia."

Charles C. Mann, author of "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus." He is a regular contributor to The Atlantic, Science, and Wired magazines.

This program aired on September 3, 2009.


More from On Point

Listen Live