A Special Feature of Southwest Illinois News
The Ancient Metropolis at Cahokia Mounds
by Betty Magrath
In 1982, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), designated Cahokia Mounds as a World Heritage Site, for its importance to the understanding of prehistory in North America. Cahokia became a regional center for the Mississippian culture with many surrounding villages. The mounds were constructed principally for ceremonial activities.
Magnificent 900-pound bronze doors at the entrance to the Interpretive Center are faced with panels designed by Preston Jackson of Peoria, Illinois. The doors depict people, the Stockade, Monks Mound, a falcon and ravens. The Museum features an elaborate display of the Mississippian community with a site model in the main lobby, colorful wall murals, a life-size diorama of Cahokia around A.D. 1200, exhibit islands, archaeology wells and gift shop.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour including the Plaza area, Mound 72, Monks Mound, the Stockade and Woodhenge, a reconstructed sunrise horizon calendar. A 6-mile Nature, Culture hike & Volksmarch trail are also available.
Special programs and family activities are held year-round including storytelling, Indian Art Shows, Archaeology Day, lectures and educational programs, Indian craft and tool demonstrations, equinox and solstice sunrise observances. Picnic areas, playgrounds, and restrooms are available. The Center is open 9 am to 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday, and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Information courtesy of Cahokia Mounds State Historical Site
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