Cahokia Mounds

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

On a warm spring afternoon, Italian archaeology students from the University of Bologna were painstakingly sifting through mud from a pit they’re excavating at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville.

Heading the group is Imma Valese, 29, who’s been coming to Cahokia Mounds for six years. She has written her master’s thesis on the ancient Mississippian culture that thrived at Cahokia 1,000 years ago. Now, she’s working on her doctorate.

Steve Patterson

Kyle Reynolds drives by St. Louis’ last surviving mound, Sugar Loaf Mound, located at 4420 Ohio in south St. Louis, all the time yet he didn’t know about its existence until he read about it online. Still baffled by its significance, he turneed to St.

Photo courtesy Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Despite reduced park hours, the head of the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society says the year was brighter than expected at the Illinois state historic site, which is the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico.

Geologists from the University of Wisconsin extrude a 6-meter sediment core from the deepest point of Horseshoe Lake.
Sam Munoz | University of Wisconsin

The people who built and lived among the tall, sculpted mounds now preserved at Cahokia Mounds Historic Site have long presented a mystery to archeologists.

One of the biggest mysteries: Why did they leave?

A team of geographers studying pollen deposits buried in the sediment under Horseshoe Lake may have stumbled upon new evidence that helps explain Cahokia’s decline.  

The answers are in the lake butter

Originally the Independent Brewing Company, this building was built in 1910. It falls within the planned stadium development, as do what may remain underground of the real St. Louis mounds and the Native American community that built them.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Plans for a new St. Louis football stadium seem to be moving ahead. Just last week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called the stretch of riverfront near the Edward Jones Dome a “perfect” location for the new sports venue.

But it is also the site of an ancient Native American city — and that is raising concerns.

Photo courtesy Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

After word spread that the cash-strapped Cahokia Mounds Museum Society was crowdfunding to raise $7,500 to print brochures for the storied Illinois landmark -- the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico -- donations poured in from down the road, around the globe and from a mysterious alternate reality.

Photo courtesy Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Faced with declining revenue, the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society has turned to crowdfunding to raise $7,500 to print the informational brochures that are currently handed out at the world-renowned landmark, which is the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico. The goal for the brochures was reached shortly after noon on Feb. 25 but has been fluctuating.

One of two Mississippian culture "birdman" repoussé copper plate found by John P. Rogan at the Etowah site in Alabama in 1883.
Herb Roe | Wikipedia

Cahokia Mounds in Fairmont City attracts a diverse group of history buffs, who are visiting one of North America’s most important historic sites, and fitness enthusiasts, who enjoy the cardiovascular challenge of the steep steps that climb to the top of Monks Mound. That is the largest of the native earthworks in the Illinois state historic site.

If these stair-steppers would step a short way down the mown path that leads east from the parking lot next to the big mound, they could see history in the making – or in the rediscovering.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A public meeting will be held Wednesday night at Cahokia Mounds to talk about an initiative to turn the State Historic Site into a National Historical Park.

Ed Weilbacher is with the HeartLands Conservancy, the group behind the initiative.

He said most people are surprised Cahokia isn’t a National Park already.

Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

Cahokia Mounds near Collinsville, contains mounds constructed by an ancient Mississippian people. Recent archeological discoveries made as a result of construction of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge have highlighted the people who used to inhabit the area.

A group is now trying to bolster recognition of Cahokia and the rest of the mounds by gaining some type of national designation through the National Park Service.