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Cahokia Mounds Illinois

Updated on October 4, 2019
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I started my genealogy search when I was in 8th grade. DNA testing led me to Saint Luke, Napoleon Bonaparte, & Marie Antoinette.

Cahokia Mounds...

the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico. It covers about 4000 acres and included 120 mounds. Currently, the State protects 2200 acres of its central portion and 70 to 80 remaining mounds. It is a United States National Historic Landmark since 1965. Then in 1982 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization designated Cahokia Mounds a World Heritage Site for its prehistory of North America.

The first settlements were around 700 AD by Woodland Indians. They lived in villages along Cahokia Creek. They hunted, fished and worked their gardens. They grew corn, squash, and seed bearing plants. After 1050 AD, Cahokia became a regional center, surrounded by farmsteads, villages and towns with mounds. It peaked from 1050-1200 AD, 6 square miles and a population of 10-20,000 people. Making it the largest community north of Mexico.

Everything was situated around Monks Mound and the Grand Plaza; where the public gatherings took place. Clusters of mounds and organized neighborhoods of single family dwellings. Farming fields surrounded the city.


This is what we call today's "calendar," used to determine the changing seasons and ceremonial dates. It was constructed in 1100 - 1200 A.D. Certain posts align with the rising sun at the Spring and Fall equinoxes and the Winter and Summer solstices. The area holds sunrise observances on Sunday mornings. Contact them for specific dates and times.

Monks Mound.. the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas. It contains an estimated 22 million cubic feet of earth. The base covers more than 14 acres and it rises to 100 feet, where a building once stood where the principal chief would live, conduct ceremonies and govern the people.

Monks Mound was named for the French Trappist monks who lived nearby from 1809-1813.

My mom and I climbed the 100 feet stairs to see the beautiful view of the St. Louis Arch. There are signs along the way explaining where the church was....the stockade.

The Museum across the street

Interpretive Center/Museum and Gift Shop

As soon as Mom and I got here this is where we went first. We got there just in time for a 15 minute movie. Then, we walked around the museum and hit the Gift Shop; where I found more books to continue my research on my French and Indian Heritage.

Mom and I are not done traveling to Cahokia Mounds.

Quite a climb, eh mom?

View of the St Louis Arch

View of St Louis Arch

My car

Map of what is seen at viewpoint

What a view


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