Satisfy your hunger for local archaeology with ‘Feeding Cahokia’ program

Local News

A Monmouth College professor and student invite the public on a trip back several centuries to learn about a historical Illinois landmark through discussion.

Biology professor James Godde and Lucas Jones ’22, of Evergreen, Colo., will present a program titled “Feeding Cahokia” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Warren County History Museum, 238 S. Sunny Lane, Monmouth, Ill. The discussion will also be livestreamed via Zoom.

The free event focuses on the Cahokia Mounds, the largest and most complex archaeological site north of the great pre-Columbian cities in Mexico, located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Collinsville. The city there thrived from about 1050 to 1350 CE.

“Feeding Cahokia” takes inspiration from the biology department’s annual half-semester course “Topics in the History of Biology,” taught by Godde last fall. The specific focus of the course was “Feeding Cahokia: Agricultural Technology of Native Americans during the Mississippian Period,” which included the study of a book written by Gayle J. Fritz, emeritus professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Lectures for the college’s class typically took place outdoors at Monmouth City Cemetery, with trips to LeSuer Nature Preserve and the Monmouth College Educational Farm and Garden.

The class also met indoors in the college’s nutrition lab, where students cooked some of the dishes the Cahokian people may have eaten.

The course concluded with a trip to Cahokia, where students could see the location they’d studied for the preceding seven weeks.

“Feeding Cahokia” is co-sponsored by the Warren County History Museum, along with the Western Illinois Society of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Follow Monmouth College on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about upcoming events.

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