Population nucleation, intensive agriculture, and environmental degradation: The Cahokia example

  title={Population nucleation, intensive agriculture, and environmental degradation: The Cahokia example},
  author={William I. Woods},
  journal={Agriculture and Human Values},
  • W. Woods
  • Published 22 January 2004
  • Geography
  • Agriculture and Human Values
Cahokia, the largest pre-European settlement in North America, was situated on the Middle Mississippi River floodplain and flourished for approximately three hundred years from the 10th century AD onward. The site was favorably located from an environmental standpoint, being proximal to a diversity of microhabitats including expanses of open water and marshes from which the essential, renewable fish protein could be procured. More importantly, the largest local zone of soils characterized as… Expand
A record of sustained prehistoric and historic land use from the Cahokia region, Illinois, USA
In eastern North America, large prehistoric settlements were concentrated in and along the floodplains of the midcontinent, but few sedimentary records have been examined adjacent to these sites toExpand
Cahokia: Urbanization, Metabolism, and Collapse
Cahokia in the 12th century A.D. was the largest metropolitan area and the most complex political system in North America north of Mexico. Its metabolism depended on an area of high natural andExpand
The First Forty Years of a Technosol
Abstract Soil formation is often a very slow process that requires thousands and even millions of years. Human influence, occasionally on a par with the function of climate or geological forces, canExpand
Impacts of pre- vs. postcolonial land use on floodplain sedimentation in temperate North America
Abstract This paper evaluates the relative importance of anthropogeomorphic sedimentation on floodplains in the mid-latitudes of North America before and after the arrival of EuroAmericans.Expand
Fecal stanols show simultaneous flooding and seasonal precipitation change correlate with Cahokia’s population decline
Climate change during the Medieval Climatic Anomaly to Little Ice Age transition is implicate as an important component of population and sociopolitical transformations at Cahokia, and demonstrates how climate transitions can simultaneously influence multiple environmental processes to produce significant challenges to society. Expand
A New Paradigm for Pre-Columbian Agriculture in North America
Indigenous farmers in Pre-Columbian North America have frequently been characterized as shifting cultivators whose agricultural productivity was marginal and unstable, and whose actions were damagingExpand
Soils, climate & society : archaeological investigations in ancient America
Much recent archaeological research focuses on social forces as the impetus for cultural change. This book, however, focuses on the complex relationship between human populations and the physicalExpand
Evaluating narratives of ecocide with the stratigraphic record at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Illinois, USA
Funding information National Geographic Society; National Science Foundation Abstract Narratives of ecocide, when a society fails due to self‐inflicted ecologic disaster, have been broadly applied toExpand
Treponemal Disease, Tuberculosis and Subsistence‐settlement Pattern in the Late Woodland Period West‐central Illinois
In later pre-Columbian prehistory (post AD 1000), the adaptation and intensification of maize agriculture and its correlate of aggregate village settlement (i.e. Mississippianization) is temporallyExpand
Neotropical human–landscape interactions, fire, and atmospheric CO2 during European conquest
Neotropical biomass burning reconstructions synthesized from soil and sedimentary charcoal records indicate a period of reduced biomass burning sustained for several centuries after ~500 cal. yr BP.Expand


Envisioning Cahokia: A Landscape Perspective
The massive earthen mounds of ancient Cahokia in southwestern Illinois form the largest and most complex archaeological site in the United States. Here, at the center of a vibrant Native AmericanExpand
Postglacial Ponds and Alluvial Fans: Recorders of Holocene Landscape History
Little is known about rates and patterns of Holocene hillslope erosion in areas once covered by Pleistocene ice sheets and now heavily populated. Yet, understanding past landscape behavior isExpand
Fly Ash Analysis Supports Emergent Mississippian Agricultural Features at the Lunsford-Pulcher Site (11-S-40) in the American Bottom, Illinois
The Lunsford-Pulcher site in the American Bottom of Illinois was suggested by Melvin Fowler to include a buried agricultural ridged field system. An alternative hypothesis suggests that the apparentExpand
Maize productivity in the Eastern Woodlands and Great Plains of North America
Archaeologists and ethnohistorians have long been interested in quantifying potential maize productivity for late prehistoric and early historic Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands. MaizeExpand
Resettled Farmers and the Making of a Mississippian Polity
Population displacement, resettlement, and migration constitute important dimensions in a general process of “cultural construction.” A pedestrian survey and extensive excavations of 255 domesticExpand
ABSTRACT Observation of flood effects, and stratigraphic and other evidence, including a C14 date, indicate that overbank deposition on the Chemung floodplain has accelerated in very recent geologicExpand
Culture and Agriculture: A Comment on Sissel Schroeder, Maize Productivity in the Eastern Woodlands and Great Plains of North America
Using selective maize yield data from ethnohistoric and government sources dating between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, Schroeder (1999) argues that Mississippian average yieldExpand
Mississippian Period Population Density in a Segment of the Central Mississippi River Valley
Recent archaeological investigations of Mississippian period (A.D. 1000-1400) sites permit the development of population estimates for an area immediately south of Cahokia, the largest prehistoricExpand
Cultivated Landscapes of Native North America
Part I Introduction. 1: Landscapes of cultivation. Part II Horticulture. 2: Husbandry of small herbaceous plants. 3: Husbandry of large, and woody plants. 4: Gardens. Part III Rainfed systems. 5:Expand
Point typologies, cultural transmission, and the spread of bow-and-arrow technology in the prehistoric Great Basin
Decrease in projectile point size around 1350 B.P. is commonly regarded as marking the replacement of the atlatl by the bow and arrow across the Great Basin. The point typology most widely employedExpand