Category Archives: U.S.A

Mysterious three-mile wide ‘star map dating back 150,0000 YEARS’ found in Hawaii

Mysterious three-mile wide ‘star map dating back 150,0000 YEARS’ found in Hawaii

Perhaps you haven’t still scrolled through the internet for the latest videos of mind-blowing discoveries that have been posted by some of the content creators of some platforms. However, we’ve found something interesting and of course incredible for you today.

The official content creator of the channel “Third Phase of Moon,” Brett Cousins, said that he had never made discoveries by himself and published until he found some information across an insane discovery.

He has only published discoveries that had been reported worldwide until this incredible moment. Anyhow, this is considered the oldest petroglyphs that humanity has ever found.

He was the first to come across this incredible discovery through the usage of Google Earth. He had discovered it on an ancient celestial star map.

The dating is believed to be more than 150,000 years.

As per Brett Cousins, his novel discovery that he was able to find in Hawaii can help reveal the hidden secrets of the ancient civilizations if we sit back and put some effort into it.

Brett was able to drag the attention of more than 19,000 viewers on his YouTube channel since the release of this great finding. Among them were some of the greats too.

Brett has an idea that this star map as well as the astronomical site have a connection with the mysterious Nazca Lines.

American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse

American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse

Five granite slabs rise in a star formation on a desolate field in Georgia, United States. – one weighs more than 20 tons, and there is a capstone on top of them. Nobody knows who constructed them or why they were put there, but one common theory is that they are there to lead mankind during a post-apocalyptic event that will come in the not so distant future.

The huge blocks send a message out to the world in eight different current languages and four extinct ones (ancient Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphs for example). The set of ten guidelines has baffled people around the world, with descriptions ranging from perfect and utopian to satanic or quirky. But no matter what the case, these ten commandments should definitely get you thinking:

While some of them are clearly noble and laudable (like having fair laws and avoiding petty ones), some of them have stirred controversy — especially “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature”, and “Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity”. If we were to apply these now, we’d have to kill over 90% of the planet.

However, this is a perfect example of a misinterpretation, because it has to be kept in mind that these “commandments” have to be applied after the alleged apocalyptic event. It’s not clear why “they” settled on 500 million, but the bottom line is that even though we hate to admit it — the world is overpopulated right now; it’s way overpopulated.

We are indeed finding better and better ways to manage our resources and use sustainable or renewable forces, but in just the last 50 years, the population of the Earth has more than doubled, and if we keep this up, the prognosis is pretty dire indeed. But back to our Georgia Stones.

The construction of a post-apocalyptic monument

Whoever built them definitely knew what they were doing: the slabs stand proud and sturdy and will endure through the centuries with minimal damage.

They also have a remarkable set of other features. For example, they feature a built-in channel that indicates the celestial pole, a horizontal slot that shows the annual travel of the sun as well as a system that marks noontime throughout the year. But why they have these features and lack others that would apparently be more useful for dazed survivors is still a mystery.

It all started on a Friday in June 1979. An elegantly dressed grey-haired man showed up in Elbert County and introduced himself as R. C. Christian — a reference to Christian Rosenkreuz — or Christian Rose Cross in English, and said he represents a small group of loyal Americans.

Rosenkreuz is a legendary character that founded the Order of the Rose Cross. He quickly became one of the most important and mysterious figures of the time by blending Christianity with some Arab and Persian sages teachings. R. C. Christian admitted this is not his real name, but refused to reveal anything about his identity.

Joe Fendley, president of the company that specializes in granite construction, didn’t care too much about this — that is, until he found out what monument R. C. Christian had in mind.

He explained that it would be a compass, calendar, and clock and also be engraved with a set of “guides” written in 8 of the world’s languages.

Fendley believed he was dealing with a crazy man and wanted to get rid of him, so he explained that a large number of tools and machines would be required, but Christian just nodded. He then quoted a price several times greater than the real one, but again, Christian seemed indifferent, so Fendley sent him to Wyatt Martin, president of the Granite City Bank. Martin is probably one of the people who have seen and spoken to the mystery man the most.

Ten guides, a clock, a calendar, and a compass

The astrological specifications were incredibly complex, so the construction company had to employ the help of an astronomer from the University of Georgia. The complex indicates the day of the year, equinoxes, and solstices among others. But the main feature is the 10 guides engraved in several languages.

The mission statement raises the first few questions marks: let these be Guidestones to an age of reason. But the controversy started even before the monument was finished — many claiming it to be the devil’s work. By 1980, when they started building the monument, Martin remembers that people started telling him to stop and accused him of being part of an occult movement.

The main problem is that the commandments engraved on the stones are quite eccentric, to say the least. It didn’t take a lot to compare the first two commandments to the practices of Nazis, among others, but again, this doesn’t mean that a large part of mankind has to disappear – the guides apply in a post-apocalyptic event, where the population is undoubtedly very small; this can be very hard to digest, but seeing things from their point of view is quite interesting, and any comparison with the Nazis or far-right ideology is unreasonable. I mean, if a horrendous tragedy happens, and somehow the world population is reduced to just a few hundred million then yes, it would be a good idea to have some care regarding the number of humans.

Guide number 3 instructed people to use a common language — which would, of course, greatly reduce numerous difficulties throughout today’s world; achieving such a task is, however, impossible at the moment due to evident practical reasons. This is the part that bothered annoyed the Christians, who quoted the bible saying that a common tongue is the mark of the Antichrist — yeah, makes a lot of sense for me, too. Same thing with RULE PASSION—FAITH—TRADITION—AND ALL THINGS WITH TEMPERED REASON — for some, faith has to be the alpha and omega with nothing else in between. For others, yours truly included, finding a sustainable balance is a much nobler goal.

The structure sometimes referred to as an “American Stonehenge”, sure stirred a lot of controversies, but it got us thinking — which means that at least a part of its objective was achieved. Even ignoring the more controversial commandments, the final 6 should definitely be worth achieving. After all, what’s wrong with avoiding unnecessary officials and prizing the truth?

Truly Unique Giant Sequoia Petrified Wood Round

Truly Unique Giant Sequoia Petrified Wood Round

Majestic Giant Sequoia Petrified Wood Round

A one-of-a-kind petrified wood specimen. This massive sequoia, discovered in 2018 on Priday Ranch in Central Oregon, is worthy of being displayed in a museum for all to see. This fossilized slice is from a ‘Giant Sequoia,’ one of the largest individual trees ever known on Earth. It is believed to be 38 million years old and comes from the Oregon area.

With a kaleidoscope of circular patterns, rich in details, this Giant Sequoia is irresistible.

This round petrified wood is a delight for biology enthusiasts as its original cellular structure and grain can easily be examined. Touch and explore the definitive outer bark level before exploring the tree’s growth rings.

Equally satisfying for those geology enthusiasts is the incredible mix and clarity of the colors within this rare specimen. Admire the pools of silicon dioxide that produce those milky creme colors and carbon and iron oxides responsible for the black and hazel tones.

Imagine all of those years that this tree lived, all that history locked in time – it truly is your bridge to the past!

Clear ring structure, solid and most impressive size, our largest specimen is suitable for standing display, table, desk.

Size: 84″X 89″
Age: 38 million years
Location of excavation: Oregon
Year of excavation: 2013
Ranch: Priday Ranch – Oregon
Shape: Round

Golden Sequoia

This specimen is called the “Golden Sequoia” because its golden tone and striking growth rings cannot be ignored. This is a stunning example of nature’s beauty.

The large petrified wood display specimen is truly breathtaking; every grain showcases its rich level of history, capturing the drama that unfolded millions of years ago.

Gaze your eyes upon the radiant colors and watch as light finds the hidden intricacies. A true rarity, the color palette is a warm bouquet of golden tones, burnt ambers, and deep hazel.

A bridge to the Eocene era, this Golden Sequoia is enchanting, spectacular, and commands attention.

A powerful specimen standing 67” tall, 92”, this one-of-a-kind piece is ideal to wall mount in a grand hallway to greet your guests but it is also deserving as a main focal point in your sitting room.

Of special interest, studying the annual rings you will note that the tree lived a simple life for 300 years. The annual rings are quite symmetric. Then for the preceding years, the annual rings on one side grew larger causing the oval shape that we observe in the picture.

This would be attributed to additional sunlight caused by the tree next to it falling over thus providing that side of the tree more sunlight.

This Golden Sequoia has been sourced from the Central Oregon region, an area of rich biological history with geological significance. Dated at 38 million years old, it is a large specimen with an impressive polish that represents true appreciation and respect for nature. Solid, impressive polish.

Size: 67″ X 92″
Age: 38 million years
Location of excavation: Oregon
Year of excavation: 2006
Ranch: Madras Ranch – Oregon Shape: Round

This Specimen is spectacular!

Meet Sue One of the Largest, Most Extensive, and Best Preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen

Meet Sue One of the Largest, Most Extensive, and Best Preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen

Sue, the world’s largest, most accurate, and best-preserved T. rex, has attracted millions of visitors to Chicago’s Field Museum.

Many of Sue’s bones have never been found in a T. rex before. Sue’s skeleton, which is 90 percent intact, also gives scientists the rare ability to recreate what T. rex would have felt like and how it moved while it was alive.

Finding most of the bones from a single specimen gave scientists excellent detailed information about Sue’s anatomy and biology.
T. rex is known for its tiny forelimbs, and Sue’s right arm is only the second nearly complete arm ever found.

Sue the T. rex. Notice the wishbone or furcula (circled), the first such bone ever found on a T. rex.

It will help scientists better understand the strength and motion of this oddly small appendage. Sue’s arms are about the same size as human arms, making them too short to reach her mouth.

Yet the bones are quite thick which indicates they would have been very powerful. Current thinking is that the arms were more useful to T. rex in its early life when it would have been proportionately larger.

If you do visit Sue at the Field Museum, you won’t see all of her bones attached. For example, there are long thin bones that were formed just beneath Sue’s skin on her belly called gastralia. They are different from her ribs and scientists are trying to figure out their positioning and how they should be attached.

They might have helped her breathe or perhaps they helped protect her internal organs. Usually, these delicate bones are incomplete or missing, but Sue has about 75% of her gastralia intact.

Sue’s has a wishbone or furcula in her chest. This bone is the first ever found on a T. rex. Only carnivorous dinosaurs have a furcula and it’s one of the many links between dinosaurs and birds.

The tail on Sue is the most complete tail ever found on a T. rex. A complete tail allows for accurate measurement of the animal’s length.
Perhaps the most significant part of Sue’s skeleton is her skull, and Sue’s is one of the most complete and best-preserved T. rex skulls ever found.

Its structure and arrangement provide some of the best clues about how Sue lived and related to her environment.

Before being put on display, Sue’s skull spent 500 hours inside a powerful CT scanner. As a result, scientists can now learn about the structure of T. rex’s brain.

These CT images show Sue’s brain cavity. The brain itself was about the size and shape of a big sweet potato. Sue had large olfactory bulbs and sinus cavities indicating she had a strong sense of smell which would have been important for hunting or scavenging for food.

400 Million Year Old Hammer discovered In Texas The London

400 Million Year Old Hammer discovered In Texas The London

This curious artefact was found in London, Texas, USA in 1934. The hammer was embedded in the rock and has been many theories about its origin, and most importantly its incredible age.

So how did the hammer end up being stuck in the rock? Well, to finish the hammer inside the rock it had to be built before the rock was formed and which was several million years ago.

After their discovery and all the questions raised by the hammer, the researchers decided to abandon the unbelievable discovery at the Somervell Museum in Texas.

The internal handle underwent the process of carbonization based on studies by the Metallurgical Institute of Columbia and the hammerhead was built with iron purity only achievable with modern-day technology.

According to analysis, the head of the hammer consists of 97 pure iron, 2 per cent chlorine and 1 per cent sulfur. Surprisingly researchers also found that the iron had undergone a process of purification and hardening, typical of the metallurgy of the twentieth century.

According to analysis, the rock encasing of the hammer was dated to the Ordovician era, more than 400 million years ago.

The portion of stone surrounding the hammerhead also presented abnormalities, seeming to have merged with some type of sheath covering the hammer. According to geologists, the slow process of petrification dates back hundreds of millions of years.

This has led several ufologists and ancient astronaut theorists to a quick deduction of the context of the incredible discovery leading them to assume not only that there was a human civilization before the historical process of petrification in Texas, but that this ancient civilization already possessed the necessary technology for the fabrication of a hammer with modern features.

Evidence suggesting that the iron from the hammer might have originated from a meteorite is not a possibility according to researchers. The chemical analysis of the artefact also detected certain amounts of potassium, silicon, chlorine, calcium and sulfur.

Thus, this composition contradicts the hypothesis postulated that the hammerhead belonged to the fragment of a meteorite since the bodies of our solar system do not have that type of chemical composition.

Researchers also believe, that since the head of the hammer was found embedded into the rock, it suggests that the embedding process was performed under different atmospheric conditions to the current, different atmospheric pressure, more similar to those in the remote past.

Against the remote possibility that a meteorite with extremely rare and bizarre chemical composition and exceptional morphology, got caught, in prehistoric times, onto a piece of wood just as the head of the discovered hammer imprisons its handle, some researchers and ancient astronaut theorists point toward the fact that our planet was inhabited in ancient times, by civilizations with advanced technical and technological capacity, of which today we only have legends and items like this one who were trapped in the rock. 

Unfortunately, some scientists do not agree with the theory that an ancient civilization created the hammer, and claim that it was only a metallurgical technique that had been eventually abandoned.

This extraordinary artefact belongs to the list of many other mysterious objects that have been discovered across the globe, and just like the Russian “microchip” or the 300 million-year-old screw, this item has caused debate among researchers and historians who are divided into groups, supporting and denying the possibility that the human race is much older than previously thought.

Whether this artefact is indeed a hammer dating back hundreds of millions of years, is something that will fuel debate among supporters of the ancient astronaut theory and conventional archaeologists, who both have provided arguments explaining the origin and age of the hammer.

Florida sinkhole discovery suggests humans lived in America 14,500 years ago

Florida sinkhole discovery suggests humans lived in America 14,500 years ago

A stone knife, mastodon bones and fossilized dung Discovered in an underwater sinkhole show that humans lived in north Florida about 14,500 years ago, according to new research that recommends the colonization of the Americas was far more complex than originally believed.

Archaeologists have known about the sinkhole in the Aucilla River, south of Tallahassee, for years. But they recently dived back into the hole to excavate what they call clear proof that ancient mankind spread throughout the Americas about 1,500 years earlier than previously thought.

Almost 200ft wide and 35ft deep, the sinkhole was “as dark as the inside of a cow, literally no light at all”, according to Jessi Halligan, lead diving researcher and a professor at Florida State University at Tallahassee. Halligan dived into the hole 126 times through the course of her research, wearing a headlamp as well as diving gear.

Neil Puckett, from Texas A&M University, surfaces with a limb bone of a juvenile mastodon at a sinkhole in a limestone bedrock site near Tallahassee, Florida.

In the hole, the divers discovered stone tools including an inch-wide, several inch-long stone knife and a “biface” – a stone flaked sharp on both sides. The artefacts were found close to mastodon bones; re-examination of a tusk pulled from the hole confirmed that long grooves in the bone were made by individuals, presumably when they removed it from the skull and pulled meat from its base.

“Each tusk this size would have had more than 15lbs of tender, nutritious tissue in its pulp cavity,” said Daniel Fisher, a palaeontologist at the University of Michigan who was a member of a group that once removed a tusk from a mammoth preserved in Siberian permafrost.

Of the “biface” tool, Halligan told Smithsonian magazine: “There is definitely no way it is not made by people. There is no way that’s a natural artefact in any shape or form.”

When ancient people butchered or scavenged the mastodon, the sinkhole was a shallow pond: a watering hole for men, mastodons, buffalo, bears and apparently dogs. The researchers discovered bones that appear to be canine, suggesting dogs trailed the humans, either as companions or competitors for scraps. The discovery makes the sinkhole the earliest documented site for humans in the south-eastern United States. The specialists published their findings in the journal Science Advances on Friday, writing that the artefacts show “much better” evidence of early humans than previous work at the site.

“The proof from the Page-Ladson site is a major leap forward in shaping a new view of the peopling of the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age,” said Mike Waters, an archaeologist at Texas A&M University.

“In the archaeological network, there’s still a terrific amount of resistance to the idea that individuals were here before Clovis,” he added, referring to the so-called “Clovis people”, a group long thought the first band of humans in the United Nation of America.

Divers investigate the Page-Ladson archaeological site in Florida

Waters said that the watering hole would have made for “easy pickings” for people looking to corner prey. Halligan suggested the ancient hunter-gatherers may have been the first regular nomads of the east coast, travelling south in the winter.

“They were very smart about local plants and local animals and migration patterns,” she said. “This is a big deal. So how could they live? This has opened up a whole new line of inquiry for us as researchers as we try to understand the settlement of the Americas.”

Humans are thought to have crossed into the Americas amid the Ice Age, when land-linked Siberia to Alaska, but the timing of the crossing is an issue of a long dispute. In the 1930s, archaeologists Discovered distinctive spearheads among mammoth bones near Clovis, New Mexico. For decades the Clovis individuals were considered the first to colonize the Americas, around 13,000 years ago. 1000 Clovis spearheads have been found around North America and as far south as Venezuela.

But in the last two decades, archaeologists have discovered an 11,000-year-old skull in Brazil, human DNA by way of faeces in a cave in Oregon, evidence of humans in coastal Chile as long as 14,800 years ago, and spearheads in Texas that could date human arrival in the Americas to 15,500 years ago. Most of the manmade artefacts Discovered in these disparate sites lack the signatures of the Clovis people. At the Florida site, the researchers examined twigs in fossilized mastodon dung to date the bones and artefacts, finding them to be about 14,550 years old. The timing casts the Bering Strait theory into doubt, Halligan said: the ice-free land bridge was only open for a few thousand years.

“So the ice-free corridor is not our answer for how the Americas were initially colonized,” she told the Smithsonian.

“The logical way individuals could have come to Florida by 14,600 years ago is if their ancestors entered the Americas by boat along the Pacific Coast,” Waters told Discovery News.

“They could have travelled by boat to central Mexico, crossed and come along the Gulf Coast. They could have entered the Americas via the Columbia River and then travelled inland to the Mississippi waterway and followed it down and entered the Gulf Coast, eventually making their way to Florida.”

Mastodon remains have been found as far north as Kentucky, she said. Fisher added that the discovery that “humans and megafauna coexisted for at least 2,000 years” casts doubt on another theory: that the Clovis hunters quickly made mammoths and mastodons wiped out as they launched a “blitzkrieg” across the continent.

“That means that anyway humans and mastodons interacted, it took at least 2 millennia for the process of extinction to run to completion,” he said at a press conference. The main reason the giant mammals went extinct, he said, was probably the warming atmosphere. Several anthropologists not affiliated with the research said it added to the mounting evidence of a complex, many-staged migration into the Americas.

“I think this paper is a triumph for underwater archaeology and yet another nail in the coffin of the Clovis-first theory,” Jon Erlandson, an anthropologist at the University of Oregon in Eugene, disclosed to Nature magazine.

“I don’t know what else to tell you,” archaeologist Michael Faught, one of the reviewers of the research, told National Geographic. “It’s unassailable.”

Roman Coins discovered in (U.S) Texas burial Mound

Roman Coins discovered in (U.S) Texas burial Mound

Finds of Roman coins in the United States, including one in an Indian mound in Texas, are most likely lost souvenirs of World Wars I and II rather than proof of ancient transoceanic contact, an expert says.

A study of some 40 reported finds of Roman coins in the United States has convinced Dr. Jeremiah Epstein, an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin, that “if Romans ever got to America, we haven’t got any evidence of them yet.”

Dr. Epstein reported his findings to American and British experts at a symposium on ancient coins that ended here Tuesday. Roman coins were reported found in the New World as early as 1530, the research says, although it appears that that report and many others since have been in error.

The only documented pre‐Columbian European contact with the New World is the Viking settlement in Newfoundland, dating to about 1000 A.D.

Recently a London coin dealer and expert, Peter Seaby, identified a coin found at Blue Hill Lane as a Norse penny from the reign of Olaf Kyrre, 1067 to 1093 A.D. The coin was reportedly excavated from an Indian midden.

The finding of a Roman “follis” of Emperor Constantin the Great (306‐337 A.D.) in an Indian mound prompted Dr. Epstein to begin his study of reports of Roman coin discoveries. But other artefacts from the mound 1,000 years or older than the coins have been found.

It appears, Dr. Epstein says, that the coin is an example of “reverse stratigraphy,” a phenomenon known from other archaeological sites, of which later objects are carried down below earlier ones, often by animals’ burrowing activities.

As part of his investigations, Dr Epstein advertised in coin publications for people who had found or lost Roman coins.

One correspondent from Africa reported losing a coin while skiing in Colorado. A conference member reported that a coin dealer lost a number of coins, still unrecovered, in an accident on a Houston freeway.

Finds were reported from various areas, including what Dr Epstein describes as “obviously historical contexts,” such as a Baton Rouge, La., bus station and the Abilene, Tex., Air Force base officers’ club.

Others that were investigated turned out to be cases of mistaken identities, such as one “Roman” coin that was actually a token from the 1893 Colombian Exposition. An “ancient Jewish shekel” turned out to be a commemorative token given Jewish immigrants to the New World.

Research on reported finds shows the number increasing after 1914, apparently from returning G.I.’s losing coins picked up on foreign lands. Experts at the conference reported that that situation had occurred in many other places, including Australia, where Roman contact has not been hypothesized.

Accidental Contact Suggested

Dr Epstein agrees that, apart from deliberate attempts at colonization, conquest or trade, there is a possibility of accidental contact by Romans from a “drift voyage” by a disabled ship.

However, there is no evidence, he says, to indicate that any such voyage occurred. Coin finds are not concentrated in coastal areas, nor do they correspond to peak periods of Roman shipping, he explained.

There is evidence on the West Coast for “drift voyages” by Japanese junks, with documented reports, and coin concentration for 18th and 19th-century contact by Chinese fur traders with coastal tribes there, Dr Epstein says.

The lost ancient megacity of the United States

The lost ancient megacity of the United States

The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the site of a pre-Columbian Native American city (which existed c. 1050–1350 CE) directly across the Mississippi River from modern St. Louis, Missouri. This historic park lies in southwestern Illinois between East St. Louis and Collinsville.

Things are quieter these days at Cahokia, now a placid Unesco site. But towering, earthen mounds there hint at the legacy of the largest pre-Columbian city north of Mexico.

A cosmopolitan whir of language, art and spiritual ferment, Cahokia’s population may have swelled to 30,000 people at its 1050 AD peak, making it larger, at the time, than Paris. 

The lost ancient megacity of the United States
Seventy of Cahokia’s original mounds are protected within the Unesco World Heritage Site

It’s what Cahokia didn’t have that’s startling, writes Annalee Newitz in their recent book Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age. The massive city lacked a permanent marketplace, confounding old assumptions that trade is the organising principle behind all urbanisation.

“Cahokia was really a cultural centre rather than a trade centre. It still boggles my mind. I keep wondering ‘Where were they trading? Who was making money?’,” Newitz said. “The answer is they weren’t. That wasn’t why they built the space.”

Newitz isn’t alone in their surprise. Assumptions that commerce is the key to urban life long shaped a Western view of the past, explains archaeologist Timothy Pauketat, who has studied Cahokia for decades.

“It’s definitely a bias that influenced earlier archaeologists,” he said. When excavating cities in Mesopotamia, researchers found evidence that trade was the organising principle behind their development, then turned the same lens on ancient cities across the globe. “People thought that this must be the basis for all early cities. It’s led to generations of looking for that kind of thing everywhere,” Pauketat said.

Built on the cusp of water and land, Cahokia may have been a spiritual crossroads

They didn’t find it in Cahokia, which Pauketat believes may instead have been conceived as a place to bridge the worlds of the living and the dead. For many cultures with roots in ancient Cahokia, “water is this barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead,” Pauketat said. Sprawling across a landscape that combines solid earth with patches of the swamp, Cahokia may have served as a kind of spiritual crossroads.

“It’s a city built to straddle water and dry land,” Pauketat said. Living residents settled in the driest spots, while burial mounds rose up in wetter places. Lidar scans of the site have revealed elevated causeways linking the “neighbourhoods” of the living and the dead, physical walkways that literally joined the realms.

And if living at the cusp of the two worlds sounds rather sombre, Cahokians seem to have seen their hometown as a festive place. In Four Lost Cities, Newitz writes that Cahokia’s planners crafted structures and public spaces devoted entirely to mass gatherings, places where individuals would be swept up by the joy of collective experiences. The most spectacular of all was the 50-acre Grand Plaza, where 10,000 or more people could come together for celebrations in a monumental space flanked by earthen pyramids.

The ancient ruins of Cahokia are close to the US city of St Louis, Missouri

“It’s hard to capture the intensity, the grandeur, the multi-dimensionality of an event like that,” Pauketat said. For days, food and drink would be carried into the city, where a phalanx of cooks fed people arriving for the festivities. Stockpiles of wild game, berries, fruits and vegetables became shared feasts. Visitors would sleep in temporary housing or the homes of friends, heading to the plaza for dances, blessings and other events.

On the plaza, the crowd’s buzzing energy turned to a collective roar when spectators bet on bouts of chunkey. The game kicked off when a player rolled a stone disk across the smooth surface of the ground. Taut with focus, hundreds of athletes hurled their spears even as the stone still bounced and rolled. The winner was the one whose spear stuck nearest to the chunkey stone, like a massive game of bocce played with deadly projectiles. Towering poles lining the Grand Plaza may have provided another spectacle of athletic grace, Pauketat said. He imagines men may have climbed the poles or tied themselves in for soaring, airborne dances, a ritual still practised in some Maya parts of Mesoamerica. “In the Mesoamerican ceremony, you have these big, tall cypress poles put in, and four guys who dress up as bird men and fly around those poles,” he said. “We’ve got those poles at Cahokia.”

The largest pre-Columbian city north of Mexico, Cahokia mingled art, spirituality and celebration

Shell beads, feathers and fine leather caught the sunlight as everyone donned their most elaborate costumes for such events, Pauketat explained. Cahokians loved a palette of red, white and black; people styled their hair into elaborate buns, mohawks and plumes. Tattoos adorned some bodies and faces. When the parties ended, Cahokians swept waste into pits that now serve as accounts of what the citizens ate and drank together. A decade ago, analysis of pottery beakers archaeologists found at Cahokia revealed biomarkers for a species of holly, known as yaupon, that’s the only caffeinated plant native to North America. Cahokians, it seems, kept the festivities going in part by catching a buzz. And since the native range of yaupon is hundreds of miles from the city site, we know they put significant effort into obtaining it.

Archaeological work is ongoing at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

That, in turn, may have cemented the plants’ place in ritual life. “Part of their value is in the difficulty of acquiring them,” said anthropologist Patricia Crown, who led the analysis of the beakers. “You had to have the networks to be able to get the substance if it was really important to your religious system.  Today, the site of ancient Cahokia is preserved as Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a Unesco World Heritage Site where archaeological work is ongoing. Seventy of the original mounds are protected there, and a long staircase leads to the summit of Monks Mound, with views across the Grand Plaza. Toting audio guides, visitors walk a 10km path winding through grassland, forest and wetlands. 

Tall poles aligned with the rising sun measured seasons in Cahokia’s heyday

Once again, as in ancient times, a constellation of tall poles aligns with the rising sun to measure passing seasons. The onsite interpretive centre features recreated scenes of life here, along with displays of stone tools and pottery shaped by skilled Cahokian hands.

They fit right into American history

Modern life is not far away: Cahokia is framed by a middle-American sprawl of interstate highways and suburbia. But it wasn’t modern development that ended Cahokia’s thrilling story.

Eventually, Cahokians simply chose to leave their city behind, seemingly impelled by a mix of environmental and human factors such as a changing climate that crippled agriculture, roiling violence or disastrous flooding. By 1400, the plazas and mounds lay quiet.

When Europeans first encountered the remarkable mounds at Cahokia, they saw a lost civilisation, explains Newitz in Four Lost Cities. They wondered if some faraway people had built Cahokia, then disappeared, taking with them the brilliant culture and sophistication that had once thrived in the soil of the Mississippi bottomland, where the earth is enriched by riverine floods. But the people of Cahokia, of course, didn’t disappear. They simply left, and with them, Cahokia’s influence wove outward to far-flung places, where some of their most beloved pastimes are cherished to this day.

In 1050 AD, the Native American cosmopolis of Cahokia was bigger than Paris

The yaupon they loved to drink is making a mainstream comeback as a sustainable, local tea that can be harvested from the forest. Chunkey – Cahokia’s favourited game – never went away either. In some Native communities, it has attracted a new generation of young athletes and is on the roster with stickball and blowguns at Cherokee community games.

But it’s more than that. Cahokians loved to kick back over good barbecue and sporting events, a combination that, Newitz noted, is conspicuously familiar to nearly all modern-day Americans. “We party that way all across the United States,” they said. “They fit right into American history.