The remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico are preserved at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Within the 2,200-acre tract, located a few miles west of Collinsville, Illinois, lie the archaeological remnants of the central section of the ancient settlement that is today known as Cahokia. (from the Cahokia Mounds website)
There was a short movie and various exhibits that surmised the lifestyles of the “Mississippians” (couldn’t they have thought of a more exotic name?!) who inhabited this area/built these mounds. The “Golden Age” of Cahokia was apparently AD 1100-1200.
So my critique (ever the skeptic) of the above picture is..I doubt they mowed the lawn on those mounds.
The above picture isn’t the greatest, but I was shocked at the scale of Monks Mound (the biggest mound at Cahokia; the green model in the center) in comparison to the Great Pyramid of Cheops (top right). Monks Mound is 14 acres at the base and 100 feet high; the pyramid is taller (481 feet) but 13 acres at the base. Most people can picture an Aztec pyramid (e.g. Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico far left) but I would say the Illinois dirt mounds definitely get a lot less fame, right? I guess rocks are more impressive than dirt (to some!). Exhibit B:
Have you ever heard of wood henge? Didn’t think so! But I bet you’ve heard of the stone version!
And finally, on to the mounds…
I was also reminded of that terrifying movie Apocalypto. So we tried to get in touch with the vibes of these ancient grounds…
Come on kids, let’s pretend you’re being marched up that pyramid to be sacrificed!
The view was really great…
And there you have it…The Great Pyramids of Giza, The temples of the Aztec Empire, Stonehenge…no need to go so far if you’re wanting to see some ancient digs; just check out Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois!