Date: March 13, 2022
Time: 2:30 pm  to  3:15 pm

After more than a century of urban occupation, the city of Cahokia experienced a series of rapid material transformations that appear to be a deliberate attempt to change Cahokian politics. These changes transpired in locally unique yet regionally related ways at Cahokia and its surrounding settlements. There are two important aspects of change that took place during this mid-point of Cahokia’s existence: 1) the intentional termination of specific building and pottery types; and 2) the return to certain pre-Cahokian practices, including decentralized, local events. I’ll explore these transformations at the city in relation to excavations at a related mound site that was built and occupied subsequent to these major changes.

Melissa Baltus is Associate Professor at the University of Toledo. She holds degrees in Anthropology (Ph.D. and M.A.) from the University of Illinois; Anthropology (B.A.) from Minnesota State University. Her area of specialization is North American Archaeology, specifically the Cahokia/Mississippian period at the site where she excavates. In 2018, Professor Baltus received the University of Toledo Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to University Scholarship and Creative Activity. Her most recent publications include “Communities in Conflict” in Reconsidering Mississippian Households and Communities (A. Betzenhauser and E.W Malouchos, eds., 2021).

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

Baltus, Melissa R.
2015 Unraveling Entanglements: Reverberations of Cahokia’s Big Bang. In Tracing the Relational: The Archaeology of Worlds, Spirits, and Temporalities. Ed. M.E. Buchanan and B.J. Skousen, pp. 350 – 399. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Baltus, Melissa R., and Gregory D. Wilson
2019 The Cahokian Crucible: Burning Ritual and the Emergence of Cahokian Power in the Mississippian Midwest. American Antiquity 84(3):438-470.

Baires, Sarah E., Melissa R. Baltus, and Elizabeth Watts-Malouchos
2017 Exploring New Cahokian Neighborhoods: Structure Density Estimates from the Spring Lake Tract Cahokia. American Antiquity 82(4): 742-760.

Pauketat, Timothy R.
2009 Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi. Penguin Books, New York. [This is a great book written specifically for a general audience!]

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