Cahokia Mounds

Courtesy of Illinois State Museum

Archaeological investigations have revealed that ancient peoples in North America employed astronomical observations in order to determine the onset of various seasons as well as to understand the length of the year. Such information helped guide religious, social, and economic activities.

US Fish and Wildlife Service/public domain

Imagine a caffeinated concoction that, when ingested, resulted in bouts of vomiting.  You might prefer to stick with your gourmet coffee.

But the "Black Drink" as it is known was part of a ritual. The vomiting was done for purity.  It turns out, early societies imbibed.  Even the Cahokia civilization about 1000 years ago.  That's roughly 500 years earlier than records of consumption elsewhere.  Research has found residue in ceremonial cups that confirm the Black Drink was used at Cahokia.

flickr/emilydickinsonridesabmx

Cahokia Mounds in the metro east area was the site of a large and sophisticated Native American city a thousand years ago.  There's a lot of research being done there and Wednesday night you can hear more about it. 

The Illinois State Museum's Science Series lecture features Bill Iseminger, an assistant Site Manager at Cahokia mounds.