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The Cahokia Mapping Project

Melvin 'Doc' Fowler The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has a long history of contributions to Cahokia archaeology. UW-Milwaukee involvement in the archaeology of Cahokia is directly linked to the addition of Melvin L. Fowler to the university's faculty in 1966. At the time of his arrival at UW-Milwaukee, Fowler had been awarded the first of several National Science Foundation grants funding investigations at Cahokia. Fowler's first Cahokia project began, simply enough, with the compilation of an accurate map of the site that could then be used to guide subsequent research efforts.
The Cahokia Mapping Project was the first of several Cahokia projects headed by Fowler. Inspired by the high quality photogrammetric map of the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihucan produced by Rene Millon, Fowler hoped to achieve similar results with the Cahokia Mapping Project. Utilizing the specifications established by Millon, including the same photogrammetry company, Fowler commissioned a map of the Cahokia site using a one-meter contour interval. Following the completion of the UW-Milwaukee Cahokia map in 1967, Fowler and a cadre of students began the process of verifying all of the locations of mapped mounds in the field. Fowler's Cahokia Map
John J. R. Patrick MapAt the time of its completion, the UW-Milwaukee Cahokia map was the first accurate map of Cahokia produced since Belleville, Illinois dentist John J. R. Patrick commissioned a map of the site in 1876.
Certainly, there were maps of Cahokia produced in the years between the Patrick map and the UW-Milwaukee map, but most of these maps were based on the Patrick map and contained inaccuracies and errors in mound numbers and locations. Soon after it was completed, the UW-Milwaukee Cahokia map was made available to Cahokia researchers, providing them with an invaluable base map from which to explore other aspects of Cahokia archaeology. More recently, the UW-Milwaukee Cahokia map has been converted into digital format by the Illinois State Museum, and is still used extensively by Cahokia researchers.
Illinois State Museum Map
Air photo of Cahokia vicinity from the Reeves collection Powell Mound being mined for its soil in 1931
In addition to the photogrammetric map, historic photos, air photos data and old versions of the USGS guadrangles were used to identify other areas at Cahokia where mounds may have been located, and what these mounds may have looked like.

Cahokia Home Page

Metropolitan Cahokia
    Mapping Project
    Mound Analysis
    Air Photo Analysis
    Palisade Investigations
    Mound 72

Monks Mound Investigations
    First Terrace
    East Lobes

Other UWM Contributions
    Ramey Field
    Woodhenge 72
    Mound 96

ARL Home Page

Field Programs




© 2001 UW-Milwaukee Archaeological Laboratory
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Last Updated: May 10, 2002
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee