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Originally posted by isthisreallife
Read 'Guns, Germs and Steel', it describes the reasoning behind this very well.
The Americas had few, if any large animals capable of doing the work necessary to build the monuments you see in other parts of the world. Without horses, mules, buffalos, etc. there were fewer options when confronted with the enormous task of moving tons and tons of rock.
Cahokia kəhoʊkiːə is the site of an ancient Native American city (650-1400 CE) near Collinsville, Illinois in the American Bottom floodplain, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The 2,200-acre (8.9 km2) site includes at least 109 man-made earthen mounds. Cahokia Mounds is the largest archaeological site related to the Mississippian culture, which developed advanced societies in eastern North America centuries before the arrival of Europeans.
Cahokia was settled around 650 CE during the Late Woodland period. Mound building did not begin until about 1050 CE, at the beginning of the Mississippian cultural period. The inhabitants left no written records beyond symbols on pottery, shell, copper, wood, and stone.. The city's original name is unknown.
As other people have said, most of the groups were hunter-gatherers and the few that weren't such as the Maya, Inca, and the Pueblo do have significant ruins. Don't forget about the burial mounds of the Mississippi Delta or the massive wooden lodges used in the Pacific Northwest. Those were made of logs so they would not exist today, although many were hundreds of feet long.
The great majority of scholars who specialise in Mesoamerican history, archaeology and linguistics remain unconvinced by these speculations. Many are more critical and regard the promotion of such unfounded theories as a form of ethnocentric racism at the expense of indigenous Americans.
The consensus view maintained across publications in peer-reviewed academic journals that are concerned with Mesoamerican and other pre-Columbian research is that the Olmec and their achievements arose from influences and traditions that were wholly indigenous to the region, or at least the New World, and there is no reliable material evidence to suggest otherwise. They, and their neighbouring cultures with whom they had contact, developed their own characters which were founded entirely on a remarkably interlinked and ancient cultural and agricultural heritage that was locally shared, but arose quite independently of any extra-hemispheric influences.
Finally, tribes in the Americas were not as focused on Astrology or the Cosmos as groups such as the Egyptians were. This limited the need for massive pyramids or structures
The Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl (Nahuatl for "artificial mountain"), is a huge complex located in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. It is the world's largest monument and largest Pre-Columbian pyramid by volume.
Cholula is most famous as the site of the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the largest man-made pyramid and monument by volume in the world. The temple-pyramid complex was built in four stages, starting from the 3rd century BCE through the 9th century CE, and was dedicated to the deity Quetzalcoatl.
History The name Pyramid of the Sun comes from the Aztecs, who visited the city of Teotihuacan centuries after it was abandoned; the name given to the pyramid by the Teotihuacan's is unknown.
A mysterious set of monuments in Peru make up the oldest solar observatory in the Americas, according to a new study. The 2,300-year-old Thirteen Towers of Chankillo were used for marking the sun's position throughout the year—an activity that was part of the sun-worshipping culture of the Inca, the study authors said.