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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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

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User Reviews

Kai Anthony (39 days ago)
Caught the 2pm tour with Zach. He was easy to hear, full of fun tidbits, happy to answer questions and considerate of people contending with the heat. The interpretative center is impressive, offering a real wealth of well-presented information. Many exhibits feature signs with "The Archeologist and The Storyteller," showing the perspectives of both a hypothetical scientist and native. There are life-size models, murals, miniature replicas, and many genuine artifacts. Monk's Mound is a 156-stair climb that allows you to see downtown St. Louis in the distance—as well as to stand where great leaders once stood on the earliest human-made skyscraper. Nice gift shop.
Mariia Kharlacheva (2 months ago)
Worth the drive! We went during hot weather and the indoors museum was amazing. We will come back to hike during fall. The gift shop has a great variety of presents and souvenirs. The cafe is permanently closed though. But there are a couple of vending machines. There are daily tours outside (it was inside for us due to weather). And a movie every hour.
Josef Platzer (2 months ago)
I was surprised by the high value of the museum. It is one of the museums with a lot of exhibits, prepared very well for a non-expert audience. You can see, hear, and touch, so you don't just have to read a lot and be an expert in the material to enjoy it. They also show a well made move as an introduction (about 15min). I would highly recommend for anyone coming near, even if you didn't hear so much about native American history as was the case for me. The outside area is pretty big. You can walk up the big mound, a nice experience. However, the biggest downside is that modern civilization is within the historic site. There seems to be a private house on the historic site, a big street separates the museum and the big mound, and some dealership is right next to the sun clock. I think America can do better than that for what seems to be a very important historic site.
Katherine W (12 months ago)
The history of Cahokia is amazing and awe inspiring. The Mississippian peoples built hundreds of mounds in the region, and those in the state park represent just a small fraction of all the mounds that once existed. The museum provides a great overview of the history of the Indigenous people of the time. The mounds are even more impressive once you learn about the symbolism and spirituality they are connected to. Everyone should visit!
Adam Dietrich Ringle (13 months ago)
At some point in your visit, check out the gift shop!
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