Ever since we learned about it a few years ago, we have wanted to visit Cahokia and last weekend, we finally did! It was really quite fascinating.

It is near St Louis in Collinsville, Il. Quote from the book City of The Sun: “By nearly all criteria, ancient Cahokia was a true civilization – a society marked by social, political and cultural complexity and advanced development in the arts and sciences. Cahokia had an enormous population, diverse art forms, specialized labor forces, controlled surpluses, long distance trade, social stratification, organized government, monumental public works and a knowledge of scientific principles necessary for site planning, design of a sun calendar and mound construction.”

Lasting from 700 to 1500, with a population of 20,000 at its peak it was the greatest civilization north of Mexico, and I don’t know why it isn’t more well known. It became a World Heritage site in 1982 and the Cahokia Mounds Interpretive Center is worth a visit!


This photo shows Woodhenge, like Stonehenge in England, it marks the solstices, here you can see the central pole and one of the marked poles that would line up with the sun to mark a solstice. In the background you can see one of the mounds the largest of which, covers 14 acres and is 100 feet high! All that dirt was carried in baskets!

This fertility figure is sculpted from a soft red stone and shows The Earth Mother hoeing into the back of a cat faced snake (they both represent fertility)


The snake splits and you can see the squash vine and fruit growing up her back. Among other things they were an agricultural society. Specialization allowed for very sophisticated products.

BeaverCahokiaThis bowl shows a beaver chewing on a stick that it is holding ; the beaver was considered special because it lives in two worlds, water and land.


Beautiful workmanship in these tools and weapons.

There was so much to see and learn about their day to day lives, much more than we expected!

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One Response to “Cahokia”

  1. Loretta Says:

    Thank you Ruth for this very special information. I studied archaeology for a short time many years ago, learned about many of the early native American civilizations but did not hear of the Cahokia. I’ll do a little research over the next few weeks to learn more, that is, if I can find anything.
    Best to you. Loretta

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