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Extended Audio Sample Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi, by Timothy R. Pauketat Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (246 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Timothy R. Pauketat Narrator: George K. Wilson Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Penguin Library of American Indian History Release Date:
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Almost a thousand years ago, a Native American city flourished along the Mississippi River near what is now St. Louis. Cahokia was a thriving metropolis at its height with a population of twenty thousand, a sprawling central plaza, and scores of spectacular earthen mounds. The city gave rise to a new culture that spread across the plains; yet by 1400 it had been abandoned, leaving only the giant mounds as monuments and traces of its influence in tribes we know today.

In Cahokia, anthropologist Timothy R. Pauketat reveals the story of the city and its people as uncovered by the dramatic digs of American corn-belt archaeologists. These excavations have revealed evidence of a powerful society, including complex celestial timepieces, the remains of feasts big enough to feed thousands, and disturbing signs of large-scale human sacrifice.

Drawing on these pioneering digs and a wealth of analysis by historians and archaeologists, Pauketat provides a comprehensive picture of what’s been discovered about Cahokia and how these findings have challenged our perceptions of Native Americans. Cahokia is a lively read and a compelling narrative of prehistoric America.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Pauketat’s academic approach responsibly invites opposing viewpoints, and his writing is rich in you-are-there detail, making this an archeological adventure suitable for pre-Columbian enthusiasts as well as inquisitive laymen.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This is an interesting and informative explanation of a fascinating but still puzzling civilization.” 


  • “A happy marriage of professional scholarship and childlike enthusiasm.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Rick | 2/16/2014

    " Interesting history of a people/civilization of which I was previously unaware. But the book fails to present a clear picture to me of these people and seems to be full of maybees and possibilities, rather than specific answers. Perhaps this is because there is little definitive knowledge. This book had some interest, but I'd only recommend it to someone who was very interested in this subject, not the casual reader. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Stan | 2/7/2014

    " This book certainly gets the interest level up for a guy who has mostly been interested in the prehistoric American Southwest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Karen | 1/20/2014

    " I've been a nerd for Cahokia since I was a kid... and, at age 30, I still enjoy visiting there whenever I get back to the St. Louis area. This book was very well-written, even if you are someone that doesn't have a background of art history or archaeology. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by 63alfred | 1/14/2014

    " Nice history or North American indians that most of use don't know. Book is somewhat repetitive though. "

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About the Author

Timothy R. Pauketat is an “American Bottom” Mississippian-era archaeologist and professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He is best known for his investigations at and involving the World Heritage site of Cahokia Mounds near St. Louis, MO.