Cahokia

This place on the eastern side of the Mississippi River is a bit of a well kept secret. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site near Collinsville, Illinois has been a UNESCO World Heritage since 1982 yet too few Americans are familiar with this amazing place. Cahokia was the capital of the Mississippian Culture and in 1050 CE it was a bigger metropolis than either London or Paris at the time with as many as 30,000 inhabitants! Perhaps this site is not nearly so well known as it should be because the pyramids were constructed as earthworks and the henge was made of wood rather than of stone unlike the Mayan and Aztec pyramids or Stonehenge. The state has done amazing work rescuing properties from modern development and rehabilitating the site, educating the public, and encouraging archeological research. With access to an amazing visitors center, an award winning video presentation, life sized dioramas, and opportunities to climb Monks Mound, and stand within Woodhenge, we came away in awe of the accomplishment of the people’s who lived here for hundreds of years and then abandoned the location before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas.

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