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 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.