Professor of History of Art, Fashion Institute of Technology
“Ancient Architecture in the Mississippi Valley: Monumentality Seen and Unseen”
In the 6th Century BC communities began to build monumental architecture and earthworks in the Lower Mississippi Valley. One of the most remarkable, still remaining sites from the Late Archaic period is the city of Poverty Point, Louisiana. Traveling up the Mississippi through the massive 13th Century city of Cahokia, Illinois to the animal and geometric earthworks from Iowa to Lake Michigan ones sees how diverse communities continued to shape the land over thousands of years. In this talk I will focus on three of these sites from different periods and geographic locations to consider the importance of monumental architecture to the people who made them. I will also question why these monuments are so rarely referred to within a broader Pre-Columbian literature and why they are not commonly recognized as the vast ancient past of North America.