Cahokia Mounds

St. Louis, United States

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


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

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User Reviews

Valérie Lent (7 months ago)
Fantastic site. The interpretive center is currently closed for renovations but there is a trail map and a flyer, plus many informational signs. I highly recommend it.
Wesley R (DynamicMushroom) (8 months ago)
Beautiful place with St.Louis visible across the river. Fascinating history. I've visited a variety of these mound sites from here to Florida and all of them are incredible.
Leonildo Azevedo (8 months ago)
Taking advantage of one of the last days of the year with above-freezing temperatures to visit Cahokia Mounds. Right away, I felt a connection with the Mississippians of that era (800-1400 A.D.), who, lacking natural hills in the region, decided to construct their own; about 120 mounds. Today, the site is an archaeological landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, considered a sacred location. The base of the site covers an area of more than 56m², and the highest point is about 30 meters high, an area where over 600,000 cubic meters of earth were manually moved; construction began around 950 A.D. and was expanded several times until 1250 A.D.
Julie Heeren (9 months ago)
Arrived just after it rained and before sunset. Lots of information with facts and history. It's a slight walk from the parking lot but there are nice pathways that are easy to walk on. The stairs and pathway from the base to the top are not handicap accessible, but there is a nice sturdy handrail along the steps which I depended on being not good with heights. I surprised myself and made it to the top and back. Such a beautiful place with so many secrets and history. St Louis skyline is visible in the distance.
beingspontaneous (9 months ago)
Large area with hiking trails up to 10 miles. Beautiful scenery, well kept surroundings, free parking. The museum is currently closed for renovation, but the park is open. They have App available for guidance and visualization, maps and board information. Great place to spend few hours.
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