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ahokia, once a thriving city during the 14th century which has vanished overnight without a single trace. For several hundred years, Cahokia (now in the US state of Illinois) was a lively town of around 15,000 inhabitants. Many such cities during that period of time and even much earlier have vanished, but at least a rock or something was left behind for historians to unveil what had caused this event.

In the case of Cahokia, nothing was left, not a single piece of stone or something to answer the question of where the descendants of this city have vanished. Many different theories have been created over the years, bringing different ideologies as a response to how the city may have vanished without a trace. One of the most plausible that has been believed for many years was the city being destroyed by ongoing floods, taking all the houses.

A study published in 2021 was able to rule out at least one idea, that deforestation and overuse of the land around Cahokia caused erosion and flooding in the area, making the region uninhabitable for Native Americans. The researchers found that the soil at the location was steady from the city’s heyday to the middle of the 1800s and the emergence of the industry. In other words, there was no ecological catastrophe.

“There is a common theory about the land use practices that lead to erosion and sedimentation and that contribute to all these ecological consequences. But when we look closer, we can see that there is no evidence of flooding,”

archaeologist Caitlin Rankin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Photos have been created with the help of specialists to showcase how the city used to be based on other historical records of near cities from the 14th century. The most predominant part of the city was the mound which is considered the heart of the city.

“Monks’ Mound”, the largest known mound at Cahokia. 
(Source: Shutterstock)

Clear evidence of the existence of this city is deforestation that was man-made. Based on the analysis of specialists, they have determined that the zone around Cahokia used to be surrounded by trees, but many of them have presumably been cut down in order to construct defensive fortifications.

Cahokia remains a fascinating subject for experts, and a study published in 2020 that analyzed ancient human excrement suggests that people began returning to the city long before Europeans arrived in the 16th century.

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