Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Caffeinated Cohokia

     A cola-like tea ominously called 'black-drink' was said to have been used by the pre-columbian residents of Cahokia. Cahokia, dating from about 1050 to 1350 and what is now around east St.Louis area, was resident to approximately 50 thousand people at one point making it one of the largest known Indian culture in North America. Studies have shown the city's dense population and political organization had not been seen in north America before. Archaeologist have found beakers containing this caffeinated brew that was made from toasted leaves of the Yaupon Holly. The tea was thought to be used for ritualistic vomiting purification prior to any important events. (War, Religious, Political Etc.)  These are the oldest of these discovered tea beakers by 500 years. Tying these beakers to the religious artifacts found at the site possibly hold answers to the complete ceremonial complex within the society. Like many other ancient cultures, a strong pagan religion was at the crux of society, and it has been said this black- drink was at the core of this thriving society. Aside from religious speculation, these discoveries also help bring to lite varying levels of trade within North American cultures. The leaves from the tea grow more than 300 miles to the south. The chemicals within the beakers have indicated a substantial trade network with the southeast. Artifacts like shark teeth and shells also show trade with the gulf coast, eastern plains, and great lakes. Finding this drink so far out of its native range has led to planned future testing of these vessels from different cultures across the eastern United States.This will shed light on the mysterious trading aspects of these ancient native cultures 

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