Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
A World Treasure:
In 1982, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), designated Cahokia Mounds a World Heritage Site for its importance to our understanding of the prehistory of North America. Cahokia Mounds has also been recognized as a U. S. National Historic Landmark. Cahokia Mounds is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency as a State Historic Site.
A Thriving Ancient Metropolis:
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 10,000 to 20,000 people lived here. Over 120 mounds were built over time, and most of the mounds were enlarged several times. Houses were arranged in rows and around open plazas, and vast agricultural fields lay outside the city.
The site is named for the Cahokia subtribe of the Illiniwek (or Illinois tribe, a loose confederacy of related peoples), who moved into the area in the 1600s. They were living 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.
The Mystery of Cahokia:
The fate of the prehistoric Cahokians and their city is unknown, but the decline seems to have been gradual, beginning around the 1200s. By A.D. 1400 the site had been abandoned. Exactly where the people went or what tribes they became is yet to be determined.
Depletion of resources probably contributed to the city's decline. Climate change after A.D. 1200 may have affected crop production and the plant and animal resources needed to sustain a large population. War, disease, social unrest, and declining political and economic power may have also taken their toll.
I must say Cahokia mounds is so interesting and educational. I spent at least 2 hours exploring the museum, trails and just bumming around. I really enjoyed learning about Cahokia and learning their life style and such. Very informative and a great place to take a child, teenager or adult to learn something new and explore the area. I definately plan on going again cause lets face it, it's a large area to explore and I'd like to explore other areas near the mounds. So much to see. May you enjoy this beautiful place as much as i did.
Go visit if your driving by. Interpretive Centre is closed on Mondays after October by you can still walk the grounds. Relatively unknown to the general public this is the remains of a great 1000 year old culture and society. Mound Builders. Big mounds of incredible proportions.
If you have some our free to spend with your partner or family this is a great stop in a sunny day. You have a great view from the top, the 178 steps are easier to climb than you expect and the museum offer you a detailed experience and lesson about the local history of the area. If you stop herein a day with a local market you can find great inspiration for your presents!
Jerri Grommet Murphy
It is a wonderful place to take a stroll in the evening. It's very peaceful place to see deer and other wildlife. Always a beautiful sunset to enjoy. Let's not forget the museum, it offers many ways to learn about the Indians who once settled in our area. Great place for a family outing.
Lots of Native American history to learn about. Amazing to climb the mound that they built by hand! Lots of wildlife, easy to get close encounters with deer and turkey perfect for picture opportunitys.