Toltecs and Cahokia

Was the ancient Native American metropolis of Cahokia built or inspired by the Toltec empire of Central Mexico? That’s the argument of scholar Alice B. Kehoe in her article, “Cahokia,America’s Great City.” She makes very compelling arguments noting that even the style of cosmetic dentistry (i.e., filed teeth) found in Cahokia burials was identical to that practiced by the Toltecs. Read an excerpt below and follow the link at the end of the article to read it in full:

Cahokia, America’s Great City

Larger than London or Paris in its time, what is now America’s heartland had a magnificent city between 1030 and 1200 CE….Cahokia was the only true city north of Mexico before the establishment of the United States. In its plan of plazas surrounded by elevated buildings, and in its intensively farmed cornfields, Cahokia resembles the cities of Mexican empires; it follows their ideal city, “Tollan,” in design and in location alongside a marsh rich in foodstuffs. The dates of Cahokia’s rapid building and sudden collapse coincide with the dates for what the Aztecs called the Toltec empire, preceding the Aztecs’ movement into central Mexico….

Cahokia’s rapid building—and its collapse—coincide with this Toltec empire’s dates. So do the dates for Chaco, the largest town in the American Southwest. Archaeological evidence proves that Chaco traded turquoise thousands of miles into central Mexico during the Toltec period, and imported live parrots, for their brilliant feathers, all the way from southeast Mexico. Cahokia has no parrot bones or eggshells (at least none discovered, in this vast site); its only surviving evidence of contact with Mexico, other than the city plan with mounds around rectangular plazas, is human teeth filed to points in a fashion very popular in Toltec Mexico. Except for one filed tooth from Chaco, the 18 known filed teeth from Cahokia burials are the only filed teeth known north of Mexico.

Read the full article here:


Gary C. Daniels

Gary C. Daniels is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated television, video and multimedia writer and producer. He has a M.A. degree in Communications from Georgia State University in Atlanta, a B.F.A. degree in TV Production from the Savannah College of Art and Design and an A.A. degree in Art from the College of Coastal Georgia. He has appeared on the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Science Channel and History Channel. His History Channel appearance became the highest-rated episode in the network's history. He has a passion for Native American history and art. He is the founder and publisher of