By John P. McKay, Bennett D. Hill, John Buckler, Patricia Buckley Ebrey, Roger B. Beck, Clare Haru Crowston, Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, Jerry Davila
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Additional resources for A History of World Societies Volume B: From 800 to 1815
Here they thought and they pondered. Their thoughts came forth bright and clear. They discovered and established that which would become the ﬂesh of humanity. . Thus their frame and shape were given expression by our ﬁrst Mother and our ﬁrst Father. Their ﬂesh was merely yellow ears of maize and white ears of maize. . And so there were four who were made, and mere food was their ﬂesh. . Then their companions, their wives, also came to be. It was the gods who conceived them as well. ” t Okanogan Tradition “ The earth was once a human being: Old One made her out of a woman.
Artisans and scribes made up the social level below. Other residents were farmers, laborers, and slaves, the latter including prisoners of war. At Maya markets, jade, obsidian, beads of red spiny oyster shell, lengths of cloth, and cacao beans — all in high demand in the Mesoamerican world — served as media of exchange. The extensive trade among Maya communities, plus a common language, promoted unity among the peoples of the region. Merchants traded beyond Maya regions, particularly with the Zapotecs of Monte Albán, in the Valley of Oaxaca, and with the Teotihuacanos of the central valley of Mexico.
E. A fence of wooden posts surrounded the center of the complex. Several hundred rectangular mounds inside and outside the fence served as tombs and as the bases for temples and palaces. Within the fence, the largest mound rose in four stages to a height of one hundred feet and was nearly one thousand feet long. On its top stood a large building, used perhaps as a temple. Cahokia engaged in long-distance trade reaching far across North America and became a highly stratified society. Mississippian mound builders relied on agriculture to support their complex cultures, and by the time Cahokia was built, maize agriculture had spread to the Atlantic coast.