Monday, May 17, 2010

Cahokia Mounds

Did you know that 800 years ago, just east of St Louis, Mo, there was a structured city with a population greater than London, England? Neither did I, until today. These artifacts are among many from this city of earthen mounds that was at its zenith just after 1200 AD.

The first settlements at Cahokia were around AD 700 by Late Woodland Indians. From the years 1050 - 1200 AD the community included nearly 20,000 inhabitants, the largest city north of Mexico. The largest mound covers over 14 acres and reaches 100 feet in elevation. It was the central focus of the civilization. A massive building once stood on the summit, from which a ruler could conduct ceremonies and govern.

About 120 smaller mounds were once part of this population . . . 80 remain today.

This is mound 72 - a burial chamber which included a central, honored male, surrounded by numerous other human remains . . . quite a number of women and even four males minus their heads and hands!

The plateau of the large mound strikes an impressive profile as viewed from the east.

It is not known what caused the end of this complex city. No written records have been found and no verbal legends speak of it.
High atop the mound, rulers could survey all they command. I wonder what they would have thought, had they been able to look west and peer 800 years into the future . . .


mountainborn said...

Always enjoyed learning about the mound builders along the Mississippi. Thanks pete !

Gayle said...

I bet they were smokers, Pete. It's what caused the end of the dinosaurs, you know.

Anonymous said...

Pete, I really enjoyed your history and photos of the mounds.

I remember seeing a PBS show about them a couple of years ago. It was the first I had ever heard of them, too.

I love posts like this.

(Sunny says "Arf, Arf" to Pete.) :)

Glenda Laine said...

Great info, Pete. I had no idea about this place [it's on the opposite of the state from me]. Will try to visit there sometime when we're in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Don't have time this year, but that area is getting more interesting for next year. Thanks!
Doogie Howser n Scotty