The Society for Economic Botany awarded Gayle J. Fritz, professor emerita of anthropology in Arts & Sciences, its 2020 Mary W. Klinger Book Award for “Feeding Cahokia.” The book emphasizes the importance of native crops that were domesticated by America’s first farmers long before corn became a staple food in what is now the U.S. Midwest.
Long before corn was king, the women of Cahokia’s mysterious Mississippian mound-building culture were using their knowledge of domesticated and wild food crops to feed the thousands of Native Americans who flocked to what was then North America’s largest city, suggests a new book by a paleoethnobiologist at Washington University in St. Louis. “Feeding Cahokia” sets the record straight on America’s first farmers while offering a roadmap for rediscovering the highly nutritious native foods they once cultivated, including a North American cousin of quinoa.
Sediment cores from two lakes in the Mississippi floodplain show that Cahokia, the largest prehistoric settlement in the Americas north of Mexico, emerged during a period when there were few severe floods on the river and that its decline and abandonment coincided with the return of large floods.
The importance of human milk in evolution and modern health; biology and race in Ferguson; and the latest research on Cahokia Mounds will be among the presentation topics as three major human biology and anthropology professional groups converge in St. Louis for their annual scientific meetings March 24-28.
A massive earthen mound constructed about 3,200 years ago by Native Americans in northeastern Louisiana was built in less than 90 days, and perhaps as quickly as 30 days, according to new research in the journal Geoarchaeology. The site was recently nominated for a place on the UNESCO list of Word Heritage sites.