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Grounded by the Farm

Aug 30, 2023

With Cahokia on our minds after our last episode, we turn to my backyard of St. Louis and are digging into more Native American food and farming history. Joined by guest expert Dr. Gayle Fritz, an anthropologist and professor emeritus from Washington University, we uncover the mysteries of this once-thriving metropolis and its food and farming footprint.

Get ready to have your mind blown as Gayle delves into the incredible discoveries and hidden histories of Cahokia. It was major city and the largest metropolitan area long before Europeans arrived here. It was the largest city north of Mesoamerica between 1000-1400 CE.

Did you know that the original residents of Cahokia cultivated crops we still grow like corn, squash and nuts? They also grew so-called "lost crops" as they are no longer in production?They even had their own version of quinoa! Plus, we'll explore the various purposes of the mounds found in Cahokia, from ceremonial rituals to burial grounds.

Whether you're a foodie, history buff, or curious about native heritage, this episode will leave you hungry for more knowledge. So grab a snack and tune in to "Grounded by the Farm" as we dig deep into the culinary legacy of Cahokia! 

Key topics and moments from the episode:

  • The difficulty in fully understanding the Cahokia site due to limited archaeological search and human activities like farming, ranching, and construction.
  • The ongoing discovery of history at Cahokia, including occasional finds due to erosion during bad storms.
  • The cultural and historical significance of Cahokia as a major city and trading hub.
  • The role of mounds in Cahokia and other Mississippian sites, serving various functions such as ceremonial sites and burials.
  • The interconnectedness of St. Louis and Cahokia, with similar pottery and the presence of mounds in downtown St. Louis.

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