Artist's Reconstruction of Monk's Mound at Cahokia.
Artist's Reconstruction of Monk's Mound at Cahokia.

rotating gif.gifSee World History II.12 for more on European exploration in the Americas

Cahokia, located in present-day Illinois, was the center of what anthropologists call "Mississippian culture," agricultural communities throughout the Midwestern and southeastern United States between 1000 and 1400.

book.pngFor a perspective on Native American history in the Americas prior to European encounters, see Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi, Timothy R. Pauketat, Viking, 2009.

See also, The Mississippians of Cahokia, John Hendrix, New York Times, February 28, 2016

Cahokia is now the largest archaeological site in the United States and Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site has been designated a world heritage site.
  • It had a population in excess of 10,000, with at least twenty to thirty thousand more in outlying towns and farming settlements that for fifty miles in every direction (Pauketat, 2009, p. 2).
  • Located just east of present-day St. Louis, Missouri.
  • North America's largest pyramidal-mound complex. "Monks Mound is larger at its base than the Great Pyramid of Khufu, Egypt's largest" ("Cahokia: America's Forgotten City," National Geographic, January, 2011, p. 138). Mounds were destroyed by the builders of St. Louis before the Civil War.
    • Monks Mound is filled with 50 million cubic feet of hand-moved dirt (Hendrix, 2016, p.13).
  • Construction has been radiocarbon dated to about 1050. The centerpiece was the size of 35 football fields, the Grand Plaza, the largest public space ever created north of Mexico. At its center, a packed clay pyramid that would reach 100 feet high, surpassed only by the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan and the great pyramid at Cholula, in Mexico (Pauketat, 2009, p. 23).

Reconstructed Palisade at Cahokia
Reconstructed Palisade at Cahokia

Cahokia: America's Forgotten City, National Geographic (January 2011)


A Pre-Columbian American City from History Now

New Insights into the Curious Disappearance of the Cahokia Mounds Builders, St. Louis Public Radio

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Cahokia Mounds, Illinois Adventure, WTVP on YouTube

Mississippian Culture and Aztalan, Turning Points in Wisconsin History, Wisconsin Historical Society


external image Mound_72_Woodhenge_diagram_HRoe_2013.jpg
For more, see Cahokia Woodhenge

Diagram to the left shows solstice and equinox sunset and sunrise positions at the Mound 72 Woodhenge