Cahokia Mounds | St. Louis Public Radio

Cahokia Mounds

Author Mark Leach details discoveries of St. Louis' ancient Native American civilzation.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to ancient civilizations, St. Louisans can find one in their own hometown. Centuries ago, a well-established society left wonders, most notability, the Cahokia Mounds.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with author Mark Leach, a Native American mound preservationist.

Leach’s latest book, "The Great Pyramids of St. Louis: An Ancient Metropolis” details the history of the mounds and the culture of the Native American population.

The gift shop at the state historic site is selling commemorative T-shirts but is out of eclipse glasses. August 11 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Several hundred people are expected to show up at Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville on Aug. 21 to observe the solar eclipse from the “City of the Sun,” even though the historic site is just outside the path of totality.

The state historic site will experience about 99.5 percent totality and is not planning special events that day, said assistant manager Bill Iseminger.

He expects that most of the eclipse-watchers will want to climb the 156 steps to watch from the top of Monks Mound, the largest of the mounds built by the ancient Mississippians between 1000 and 1400 A.D.

Sign at the entrance to Cahokia Mounds Jan. 20, 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Conservationists working to make Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville a unit of the National Park Service say they will continue their efforts under the new administration of President Donald Trump.

Staffers with the nonprofit HeartLands Conservancy had hoped that former President Barack Obama would declare Cahokia Mounds a national monument before leaving office on Friday, but that didn't happen.

Ed Weilbacher, vice president of HeartLands, says an executive order by Obama would have fast-tracked the process, but he said the effort will continue. He noted that local congressional leaders support the possibility of legislative action to bring the site into the national park system.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 11, 2011 - All of us carry around with us an inclination to explore our world. For some it is subconscious; for others, a reason for being. When I made application to join the Explorers Club, I wrote of my interest in exploring the archaeology of my home territory, the St. Louis region. In it, I also wrote in praise of the rewards of a most intimate form of exploration, contemplation of one's own small place in the universe and a puzzling of its mysteries. The first requires a good pair of sneakers and a bit of moxie; the latter is accomplished sitting still and prowling around one's own sensibilities.

Bike trail would link mounds and other landmarks

Jul 31, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 31, 2011 - Public meetings have been scheduled on a draft master plan for a Mounds Heritage Trail, which would connect Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville to historic mound sites in north and south St. Louis.

According to Trailnet Confluence Project Director Laura Cohen this trail is part of a larger vision for the St. Louis region. "That is the point of working together to do this. For too many years the river's been a boundary for different organizations to work together."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 14, 2011 - If you haven't bitten into "Beacon and Eggs" yet, I hope you'll join us at 8 a.m., Tues., July 19, for our inaugural "B & E" foray into Illinois. We have a good program planned for you, probably our most exotic yet, and as usual there'll be a good spread of food and plenty of coffee for all of us to enjoy.

Uncovering prehistory on the SIUE campus

Jul 7, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 7, 2011 - SIUE students learn by doing as they uncover effigy heads and flint stones on undeveloped parts of the campus. The Archeology Field School is uncovering the day-to-day life of people who lived in a farm village that traded with the big city of Cahokia about 1,000 years ago.

Vacation at home: Day 1

Aug 12, 2008
Rachel Heidenry | The Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 12, 2008 - We know it's vacation, but today you've got to get up early because we've got a full day planned. Think of this day as a substitute for that all-inclusive Mayan Riviera resort.