Cahokia Mounds Holds Winter Events

Article excerpt

Byline: Madelyn Merwin

Dear Madelyn: I plan to visit Cahokia Mounds at Collinsville, Ill. Can you tell me a little about it? Are programs going on at this time of year?

Dear reader: Cahokia Mounds Historic Site at Collinsville has been referred to as America's best-kept secret, but apparently it's no secret to you. Programs are going on this month.

First a little about Cahokia: This site contains the preserved remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric Indian civilization north of Mexico. Within the 2,200-acre tract, located a few miles west of Collinsville, lie the archaeological remnants of the central section of the ancient Indian city now known as Cahokia.

According to archaeological finds, ancient people inhabited the site from about A.D. 700 to A.D. 1500. At its peak, it covered nearly six square miles and had a population of about 20,000. Houses were arranged in rows around open plazas, and agricultural fields lay outside the city.

The site gets its name from a subtribe of the Illini Indians - the Cahokia - who occupied the area when the French arrived in the late 1600s. What the ancient inhabitants called the city is unknown and the fate of the prehistoric Cahokians and their city remains a mystery. A gradual decline in population began about A.D. 1300 and by A.D. 1500 the site had been abandoned.

More than 120 mounds once existed here, but records show the locations of only 106 of them. …