Finding Cahokia

Cahokia Mounds

Growing up in St. Louis, I learned about Cahokia Mounds in school. It’s fascinating how little we know about the settlement that was once North America’s largest city. If you grew up outside Missouri or Illinois, you probably never heard about it at all.

A thousand years ago, huge pyramids and earthen mounds stood where East St. Louis sprawls today in Southern Illinois. This majestic urban architecture towered over the swampy Mississippi River floodplains, blotting out the region’s tiny villages. Beginning in the late 900s, word about the city spread throughout the southeast. Thousands of people visited for feasts and rituals, lured by the promise of a new kind of civilization. Many decided to stay.

They didn’t stay long though. By 1400, the city was abandoned and no one knows why. A group of archaeologists are attempting to unlock the mysteries of the Mississippian people. Check out the coverage on Ars Technica.

The Rise and Fall of Hollywood

hollywood sign

YouTube channel Now You See It published a great video about the rise and fall of Hollywood. It’s a short video, so it is quick, top-level analysis that doesn’t get too deep, but it does do a great job covering the more momentous parts of Hollywood as a whole, from moving from the east coast to the creation of big budget blockbusters.

Old Hollywood has always fascinated me (especially the old studio system and mob connections), so this was right up my alley.

Prehistoric Wings Discovered in Amber

Scientists have recently discovered a pair of wings that belonged to dinosaur-era bird ancestors encased in amber. From The Verge:

In a new study published in the Nature Communications journal this week, researchers say that the wings have very similar structures, coloring, and feather layouts as the wings of modern birds, despite the fact they likely belonged to 100-million-year-old avialans called enantiornithes.

X-ray scans indicate that the fossilized wings — found in northern Myanmar — likely belonged to juvenile creatures, and contain skin, muscle, and claws, as well as various layers of feathers, arranged in a markedly similar fashion to those of birds. That’s not the only similarity: the feathers appear uniformly black inside the amber, actually show up in shades of brown, silver, and white under the microscope.

I love that discoveries like this are still being made. It gives us more insight into our planet’s past.

Color Footage of Berlin in 1945

I saw this video today on reddit and was blown away. The destruction is amazing and sad. I sent this to a coworker (who we may or may not give trouble for being German) and we discussed it briefly. She was telling me how there were few men around so the women lined up with buckets to remove the rubble. These women were called Trümmerfrau.

Lost City Discovered in Honduran Rain Forest

city of the monkey god

It is amazing that after all this time there are still cities being discovered. From National Geographic:

An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with dramatic news of the discovery of a mysterious culture’s lost city, never before explored. The team was led to the remote, uninhabited region by long-standing rumors that it was the site of a storied “White City,” also referred to in legend as the “City of the Monkey God.”

Archaeologists surveyed and mapped extensive plazas, earthworks, mounds, and an earthen pyramid belonging to a culture that thrived a thousand years ago, and then vanished. The team, which returned from the site last Wednesday, also discovered a remarkable cache of stone sculptures that had lain untouched since the city was abandoned.

So awesome. I wonder what we’ll find out about this culture.