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After Cahokia: Indigenous Repopulation and Depopulation of the Horseshoe Lake Watershed AD 1400–1900

  • A.J. White (a1), Samuel E. Munoz (a2), Sissel Schroeder (a3) and Lora R. Stevens (a4)

Abstract

The occupation history of the Cahokia archaeological complex (ca. AD 1050–1400) has received significant academic attention for decades, but the subsequent repopulation of the region by indigenous peoples is poorly understood. This study presents demographic trends from a fecal stanol population reconstruction of Horseshoe Lake, Illinois, along with information from archaeological, historical, and environmental sources to provide an interpretation of post-Mississippian population change in the Cahokia region. Fecal stanol data indicate that the Cahokia region reached a population minimum by approximately AD 1400, regional population had rebounded by AD 1500, a population maximum was reached by AD 1650, and population declined again by AD 1700. The indigenous repopulation of the area coincides with environmental changes conducive to maize-based agriculture and bison-hunting subsistence practices of the Illinois Confederation. The subsequent regional depopulation corresponds to a complicated period of warfare, epidemic disease, Christianization, population movement, and environmental change in the eighteenth century. The recognition of a post-Mississippian indigenous population helps shape a narrative of Native American persistence over Native American disappearance.

La historia de la ocupacion y el abandono del compejo arqueológico de Cahokia (ca. dC 1050–1400) ha sido de interés cientifico desde el siglo xix, pero la repoblación de la region después de su abandono no esta bien entendido. Este artículo usa información demográfica inferida de estanoles fecales preservados en los sedimentos del lago Horseshoe (Illinois, Estados Unidos), junto con datos arqueológicos, históricos, y ecológicos para entender cambios demográficos del período despues del abandono de Cahokia. Nuestros datos muestran que la región tuvo un mínimo de población en el año 1400, la población se recuperó después del año 1500, llego a su punto máximo en el año 1650, y volvió a disminuir después del año 1700. La repoblación de la región entre los años 1500 y 1700 coincide con cambios ecologicos asociados con la ocupación de la confederación de los Illinois, un grupo indígena que cultivaba el maíz y cazaba bisontes en esta región. La despoplación del la región despues del año 1700 coincide con un período de guerra, enfermedades epidémicas, cristianización, y cambios demográficos y ecologicos. El reconocimiento de una población indígena despues del periodo Mississippian y el abandono Cahokia pone énfasis en la persistencia de los nativos americanos en lugar de su desparaición.

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Keywords

After Cahokia: Indigenous Repopulation and Depopulation of the Horseshoe Lake Watershed AD 1400–1900

  • A.J. White (a1), Samuel E. Munoz (a2), Sissel Schroeder (a3) and Lora R. Stevens (a4)

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