Cahokia, the “neato” factor, and the devil in the details…

I’ll be honest. While I focus on the the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene, I have to admit that the goings-on during Mississippian period are pretty interesting.

Does this means that I’m going to drop fluted points and dive into bags of shell-tempered pottery? Nope.

However, I’ve been plowing through books and articles on the Mississippian period, and I get pretty excited when I come across fun topics like a potential mega-flood at Cahokia.

I like soils. I like Southeastern Archaeology. This seems, for lack of better words, “neato!” I read the popular synopsis (because let’s be honest…I found out about this from facebook), briefly contemplate why “Mega-Flood!” isn’t a B-movie on Netflix, and then think, “Well, if T.R. Kidder says that flooding was a big problem at the end of the Archaic period in the Mississippi River valley, why not during the Mississippian period as well? Seems reasonable.” I then go about my merry way.

What rarely ever gets as much press are the follow-up responses. In this case, I only know about a recent response to the Cahokia megaflood hypothesis because I’m friends with one of the co-authors, and I saw it on her academia.edu page (i.e. the facebook for nerds). It appears that the relationship between the abandonment of Cahokia and the frequency of “megafloods” has some serious problems.

So, I leave two questions for my fellow Southeastern Archaeologists…

1) What is going on with this Cahokia Mega-Flood business?

2) Do we have an academic version of the click-bait problem?

Update: Here’s the reply to the Baires et al. article by Munoz et al.