Skip to main content
Log in

Creating and Abandoning “Homeland”: Cahokia as Place of Origin

  • Published:
Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

“Diaspora” is typically used in reference to large-scale population dispersals across borders of modern nation-states. This concept has particular connotations with regard to political dynamics and the creation of social identities of difference; however, similar movements of people who retain an identity of a collective “homeland” may be useful for understanding some aspects of cultural influence and complexity in the Mississippian Southeast. Here, we consider the debate over concepts of “diaspora” and “homeland,” identifying aspects of diaspora theory that provide a useful lens through which to understand Cahokia’s impact in the greater Southeast, specifically in the construction of a physical, ancestral, and/or metaphorical Place of Origin as referential “homeland.” We then consider the implications of this Central Place in the context of abandonment and small-scale out-migrations within the Greater Cahokia region. While certain non-human bodies and material practices are “carried away,” others are abandoned altogether. We consider what these choices can tell us about the process of dissolution of this once-created Place of Origin, Cahokia.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Alt, S. M. (2002). Identities, Traditions and Diversity in Cahokia’s Uplands. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, 27, 217–236.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alt, S. M. (2006). The Power of Diversity: The Roles of Migration and Hybridity in Culture Change. In B. M. Butler & P. D. Welch (Eds.), Leadership and Polity in Mississippian Society (pp. 289–308. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Occasional Paper No. 33). Carbondale: Southern Illinois University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anthias, F. (1998). Evaluating “diaspora”: Beyond ethnicity? Sociology, 32, 557–580.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baires, S. E. (2017). Land of Water, City of the Dead: Religion and Cahokia’s Emergence. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baires, S. E., Butler, A. J., Skousen, J., & Pauketat, T. R. (2013). Fields of Movement in the Ancient Woodlands of North America. In B. Alberti, A. M. Jones, & J. Pollard (Eds.), Archaeology after Interpretation: Returning Materials to Archaeological Theory (pp. 197–218). Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baires, S. E., Baltus, M. R., & Watts-Malouchos, E. (2017). Exploring new Cahokian neighborhoods: Structure density estimates from the spring lake stract, Cahokia. American Antiquity, 82(4), 742–760.

  • Baltus, M. R. (2014). Transforming Material Relationships: 13th Century Revitalization Cahokian Religious-Politics. Ph.D. Dissertation. Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Urbana-Champaign.

  • Baltus, M. R., & Wilson, G. D. (2019). The Cahokian crucible: Burning ritual and the emergence of Cahokian power in the Mississippian midwest. American Antiquity, 84(3), 438–470.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bender, B. (2001). Landscapes on-the-move. Journal of Social Archaeology, 1(1), 75–89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blake, E. (1998). The Material expression of Cult, Ritual, and Feasting. In E. Black & A. B. Knapp (Eds.), The Archaeology of Mediterranean prehistory (pp. 102–129). Oxford: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blitz, J. H. (2010). New Perspectives in Mississippian Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research, 18(1-39).

  • Brennan, T. (2018). East St. Louis precinct (11S706) Mississippian features. New Mississippi river bridge technical report No. 5. Illinois state archaeological survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

  • Brown, J. A. (2004). Exchange and Interaction until 1500. In R. D. Fogelson (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians (Vol. 14, pp. 677–685). Washington D.C.: Southeast, Smithsonian Institution Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown, J. A. (2011). The Regional Culture Signature of the Braden Art Style. In G. E. Lankford, F. Kent Reilly III, & J. F. Garber (Eds.), Visualizing the Sacred: Cosmic Visions, Regionalism, and the Art of the Mississippian World (pp. 37–63). Austin: University of Texas Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brubaker, R. (2005). The ‘diaspora’ diaspora. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28(1), 1–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buchanan, M. E. (2020). Diasporic Longings? Cahokia, Common Field, and Nostalgic Orientations. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-019-09431-z.

  • Butler, K. D. (2001). Defining diaspora, refining a discourse. Diaspora, 10(2), 189–219.

  • Butler, A. (2017). The Mission Should you Accept it: The built space of a Mississippian Mission. Paper presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Indianapolis.

  • Cipolla, C. N. (2017). Native American Diaspora and Ethnogenesis. Oxford Online.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Clifford, J. (1994). Diasporas. Cultural Anthropology, 9(3), 302–338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, R. (1997). Global Diasporas: An Introduction. London: UCL Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Collins, J. M. (1990). The archaeology of the Cahokia mounds ICT-II: Site structure. Illinois cultural resources study, 1. Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Springfield, IL.

  • Conrad, L. A. (1990). The Middle Mississippian Cultures of the Central Illinois River Valley. In T. E. Emerson & R. B. Lewis (Eds.), Cahokia and the Hinterlands: Middle Mississippian Cultures of the Midwest (pp. 119–156). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cottier, J. (1977). Continued Investigations at the Lilbourn Site, 1973. The Missouri Archaeologist, 38, 155–185.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dalan, R. A., Holley, G. R., Woods, W. I., Watters Jr., H. W., & Koepke, J. A. (2003). Envisioning Cahokia: A Landscape Perspective. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dufoix, S. (2008). Diasporas. In Translated by William Rodarmor. Berkley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emerson, T. E. (1982). Mississippian Stone Images in Illinois. Illinois Archaeological Survey Circular 6. University of Illinois, Urbana.

  • Emerson, T. E. (1997). Cahokia and the Archaeology of Power. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emerson, T. E., & Hargrave, E. (2000). Strangers in Paradise? Recognizing Ethnic Mortuary Diversity on the Fringes of Cahokia. Southeastern Archaeology, 19(1), 1–23.

  • Emerson, T. E., Milner, G. R., & Jackson, D. K. (1983). The Florence Street Site. In American Bottom Archaeology FAI-270 Site Reports (Vol. 2). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emerson, T. E., Koldehoff, B. H., & Brennan, T. K. (ed) (2018). Revealing greater Cahokia, North America's first native city: Rediscovery and large-scale excavations of the east St. Louis precinct. Illinois state archaeological survey studies in archaeology No. 12, the archaeology of the New Mississippi river bridge. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Emerson, T. E., Hedman, K. M., Brennan, T. K., Betzenhauser, A. M., Alt, S. M., & Pauketat, T. R. (2020). Interrogating Diaspora and Movement in the Greater Cahokian World. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-019-09436-8.

  • Fowler, M. L. (1997). The Cahokia atlas: a historical atlas of Cahokia archaeology. Illinois transportation archaeological research program studies in archaeology number 2. Univerity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Fowler, C. (2004). The Archaeology of Personhood: An Anthropological Approach. London: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Franklin, M., & McKee, L. (2004). Introduction African Diaspora Archaeologies: Present Insights and Expanding Discourses. Historical Archaeology, 38(1), 1–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gilroy, P. (1993). The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldstein, L., & Richards, J. D. (1991). Ancient Aztalan: The Cultural and Ecological Context of a Late Prehistoric Site in the Midwest. In T. E. Emerson & R. Barry Lewis (Eds.), Cahokia and the Hinterlands: Middle Mississippian Cultures of the Midwest (pp. 193–206). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • González-Tennant, E. (2011). Creating a Diasporic Archaeology of Chinese Migration: Tentative Steps across Four Continents. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 15, 509–532.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hall, R. L. (1997). An archaeology of the soul: North American Indian belief and ritual. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hodder, I. (2012). Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ingold, T. (2000). The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kelly, J. E. (1990). Cahokia and its Role as a Gateway Center in Interregional Exchange. In T. E. Emerson & R. B. Lewis (Eds.), Cahokia and the Hinterlands: Middle Mississippian Cultures of the Midwest (pp. 61–80). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kelly, J. E., & Brown, J. A. (2010). Just in Time: Dating Mound 34 at Cahokia. Illinois Antiquity, 45, 3–8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kelly, J. E., Brown, J. A., Hamlin, J. M., Kelly, L. S., Kozuch, L., Parker, K., & Van Nest, J. (2007). Mound 34: The context for the early evidence of the southeastern ceremonial complex at Cahokia. In A. King (Ed.), Southeastern ceremonial complex: chronology, content, context (pp. 57–87). Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press.

  • Knight, V. J., Brown, J. A., & Lankford, G. E. (2001). On the subject matter of Southeastern Ceremonial Complex art. Southeastern Archaeology, 20, 129–141.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kuijt, I. (2008). The Regeneration of Life: Neolithic Structures of Symbolic Remembering and Forgetting. Current Anthropology, 49(2), 171–197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kumar, P. P. (2005). Introduction. In P. P. Kumar (Ed.), Religious Pluralism in the Diaspora (pp. 1–12). Brill Academic Publishers.

  • Lilley, I. (2004). Diaspora and Identity in Archaeology. In L. Meskell & R. Purcell (Eds.), A Companion to Social Archaeology (pp. 287–312). Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lilley, I. (2006). Archaeology, Diaspora and Decolonization. Journal of Social Archaeology, 6(1), 28–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Millhouse, P. (2012). The John Chapman site and Creolization on the Northern Frontier of the Mississippian World. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Milner, G. R. (1983). The East St. Louis Stone Quarry Site Cemetery (11-S-468). In American Bottom Archaeology FAI-270 Site Reports (Vol. 1). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Orser Jr., C. E. (1998). The Archaeology of the African Diaspora. Annual Review of Anthropology, 27, 63–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Owen, B. (2005). Distant Colonies and Explosive Collapse: The Two Stages of the Tiwanaku Diaspora in the Osmore Drainage. Latin American Antiquity, 16(1), 45–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pauketat, T. R. (1987). A Burned Domestic Dwelling at Cahokia. Wisconsin Archaeologist, 68(3), 212–237.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pauketat, T. R. (2004). Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pauketat, T. R. 2008 The Archaeology of Downtown Cahokia I: The Tract 15A and Dunham Tract Excavations. In Studies in Archaeology No. 1, Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program. Urbana: University of Illinois.

  • Pauketat, T. R. (2013a). The Archaeology of Downtown Cahokia II: The 1960 Excavation of Tract 15B. In Studies in Archaeology No. 8, Illinois State Archaeological Survey. Urbana: University of Illinois.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pauketat, T. R. (2013b). An Archaeology of the Cosmos: Rethinking Agency and Religion in Ancient America. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pauketat, T. R., & Alt, S. M. (Forthcoming). Religious Innovation at the Emerald Acropolis: Something New under the Moon. In D. Yerxa (Ed.), Submitted for Something New under the Sun: Perspectives on the Interplay of Religion and Innovation. London: Bloomsbury Press.

  • Pauketat, T. R., & Emerson, T. E. (1991). The Ideology of Authority and the Power of the Pot. American Anthropologist, 93(4), 919–941.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pauketat, T. R., & Lopinot, N. (1997). Cahokian Population Dynamics. In T. R. Pauketat & T. E. Emerson (Eds.), Cahokia: Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World (pp. 103–123). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pauketat, T. R., Fortier, A. C., Alt, S. M., & Emerson, T. E. (2013). A Mississippian Conflagration at East St. Louis and its Political-Historical Implications. Journal of Field Archaeology, 38(3), 210–226.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pauketat, T. R., Boszhardt, R., & Benden, D. (2015). Trempealeau Entanglements: An Ancient Colony’s Causes and Effects. American Antiquity, 80, 260–289.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Richards, J. D. (1992). Ceramics and Culture at Aztalan: A Late Prehistoric Village in Southeast Wisconsin. PhD dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

  • Romain, W. (2015). Moonwatchers of Cahokia. In T. R. Pauketat & S. M. Alt (Eds.), Medieval Mississippians: The Cahokian World (pp. 33–42). Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Safran, W. (1991). Diasporas in modern societies: Myths of Homeland and return. Diaspora, 1, 83–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sassaman, K. (2012). Futurologists Look Back. Archaeologies, 8, 250–268.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schilling, T. (2013). The chronology of monks mound. Southeastern Archaeology, 32, 14–28.

  • Slater, P. A., Hedman, K. M., & Emerson, T. E. (2014). Immigrants at the Mississippian Polity of Cahokia: Strontium Isotope Evidence for Population Movement. Journal of Archaeological Science, 44, 117–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Story, J., & Walker, I. (2016). The Impact of Diasporas: Markers of Identity. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39(2), 135–141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Watts Malouchos, E. (2020, this issue). Angel Ethnogenesis and the Cahokian Diaspora. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 27(1).

  • Wilson, G. D. (2012). Living with War: The Impact of Chronic Violence in the Mississippian-Period Central Illinois River Valley. In T. R. Pauketat (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology (pp. 523–532). Urbana-Champaign: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson, G. D., Bardolph, D. N., Esarey, D., & Wilson, J. J. (2020, this issue). Early Mississippian diasporas of the North American midcontinent. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 27(1).

  • Zych, T. J. (2013). The Construction of a Mound and a New Community: An Analysis of the Ceramic and Feature Assemblages from the Northeast Mound at the Aztalan Site. Unpublished M.S. Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Melissa R. Baltus.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Baltus, M.R., Baires, S.E. Creating and Abandoning “Homeland”: Cahokia as Place of Origin. J Archaeol Method Theory 27, 111–127 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-019-09433-x

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-019-09433-x

Keywords

Navigation