Cahokia Mounds is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. It was occupied primarily during the Mississippian period (800–1400), when it covered nearly 1,600 ha and included some 120 mounds. It is a striking example of a complex chiefdom society, with many satellite mound centres and numerous outlying hamlets and villages. This agricultural society may have had a population of 10–20,000 at its peak between 1050 and 1150. Primary features at the site include Monks Mound, the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas, covering over 5 ha and standing 30 m high.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site includes 51 platform, ridgetop, and conical mounds; residential, public, and specialized activity areas; and a section of reconstructed palisade, all of which together defined the limits and internal symmetry of the settlement. Dominating the community was Monks Mound, the largest prehistoric earthen structure in the New World. Constructed in fourteen stages, it covers six hectares and rises in four terraces to a height of 30 meters. The mounds served variously as construction foundations for public buildings and as funerary tumuli. There was also an astronomical observatory, consisting of a circle of wooden posts. Extensive professional excavations have produced evidence of construction methods and the social activities of which the structures are further testimony.

Cahokia Mounds is a National Historic Landmark and a designated site for state protection. It is also one of only 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites within the United States.



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Founded: 800-1400
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in United States


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Cadence Giddings (4 months ago)
Great stop to take in the view from the top of the mounds and learn some history of the area. Monks Mound offers a great view and has many historical markers on top to tell you how it might have looked in its prime. There are other information signs on the grounds as well.
Laurie Swink (4 months ago)
The mounds are amazing! I have been waiting for a few years to visit. The visitors center is closed for renovations for the next 10 months… imagining the Native Americans hauling in all the dirt to build those mounds… it is mind boggling!! Excellent views from the top!
QL QL (8 months ago)
Interpretation center is closed when we arrived. The outdoor mounds are open. Not bad for a short climb. The view is just so so from the top. Wish I go at a different time as at 7pm the sun light is still too strong for photo.
Kimberly Klinge (10 months ago)
This is a fantastic historical site that you can enjoy with your whole family. There are several miles of hiking trails with certain important markers along the way and the view of St. Louis from the top of Monk's Mound is stunning on a clear day. I love the placards placed around that give you insight into the history of the location and there are some fun stops with augmented reality placards. Over all 10/10.
jeremy Bastert (2 years ago)
If you like native American history this is a must see the museum here is packed with really cool artifacts and visual displays of life back then. The collection of arrowheads and weapons will take a while to look at. The mounds are cool to but only one is large enough to have stairs to get to the top and has a great views.
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