Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site

10/25/18, 10:18 AM

By: Julie Rockefeller

facebook2.jpgI  visited Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site on Friday. One display case in the museum contained recovered artifacts used in the production of textiles. Cahokia was the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, which developed advanced societies across much of what is now the central and southeastern United States, beginning more than 1,000 years before European contact.Today, Cahokia Mounds is considered the largest and most complex archaeological site north of the great pre-Columbian cities in Mexico.

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The woman in the photograph is obviously not contemporary with the artifacts, but she is one of many links in a long chain of women working through the ages to create necessary, durable goods for use in her community. That these items were often as beautiful as they were functional demonstrates ( to me at least) loving care combined with creative energy.

I will only ever know one thing about the woman in the photograph: she knew how to spin, which is to say that she knew how to work magic by turning one thing into a another using almost nothing but her own hands.

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This woman is completely unaware of me, of course, but I know that I will often think of her and those who came before and after as I gain proficiency using my own pocket-sized drop spindle to produce yarns from natural fibers, and I will use those yarns to create 21st century necessary, durable goods, with loving care and creative energy.

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This is a powerful connection, which I feel as strongly as if the spun fiber was all of a piece stretching literally across the ages. It's as if the fiber drawn through my fingers is directly attached to theirs, linking us for all time.