Mirror of the Cosmos
Chappell seeks to answer fundamental questions about this unique, yet still relatively unknown space, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. How did this swampy land become so amenable to human life? Who were the remarkable people who lived here before the Europeans came? Why did the whole civilization disappear so rapidly? What became of the land in the centuries after the Mississippians abandoned it? And finally, what can we learn about ourselves as we look into the changing meaning of Cahokia through the ages?
To explore these questions, Chappell probes a wide range of sources, including the work of astronomers, geographers, geologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Archival photographs and newspaper accounts, as well as interviews with those who work at the site and Native Americans on their annual pilgrimage to the site, bring the story up to the present.
Tying together these many threads, Chappell weaves a rich tale of how different people conferred their values on the same piece of land and how the transformed landscape, in turn, inspired different values in them-cultural, spiritual, agricultural, economic, and humanistic.
Introduction: A Deep Time Study
1. Cahokia in Its Natural Setting: A Special Place within a Special Place
2. Human Beings Enter the Americas: Paleo-Indians, Archaic and Woodland Groups, and Emergent Mississippians
3. Cahokia: Cosmic Landscape Architecture
4. French Explorers, Trappers, Priests, and Monks
5. Nineteenth-Century Turmoil
6. Early Twentieth-Century Cahokia: Setting the Stage
7. Modern Cahokia: A Critical Mass at a Critical Time
Credits for Illustrations