Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site - Several mounds including Monks Mound, the largest earthen mound in the New World. This web site includes information on the interpretive center, and presents photos, history, and event calendar at this World Heritage site.

From the site:

The remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico are preserved at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Within the 2,200-acre tract, located a few miles west of Collinsville, Illinois, lie the archaeological remnants of the central section of the ancient settlement that is today known as Cahokia.

Cahokia Mounds has been recognized as a U. S. National Historic Landmark, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) , in 1982, designated Cahokia Mounds a World Heritage Site for its importance to our understanding of the prehistory of North America. Cahokia Mounds is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

According to archaeological finds, the city of Cahokia was inhabited from about A.D. 700 to 1400. At its peak, from A.D. 1050 to 1200, the city covered nearly six square miles and possibly 10-20,000 people lived here. Over 120 mounds were built through time, and most mounds were enlarged several times. Houses were arranged in rows and around open plazas, and the main agricultural fields lay outside the city. The site is named for a subtribe of the Illiniwek (or Illinois tribe, a loose confederacy of related peoples) - the Cahokia - who moved into this area in the 1600s and lived nearby when the French arrived about 1699. Sometime in the mid-1800s, local historians suggested the site be called "Cahokia" to honor these later arrivals. Archaeological investigations and scientific tests, mostly since the 1920s and especially since the 1960s, have provided what is known of the once-thriving community.

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