Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Mississippians and the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Ionarts' Charles T. Downey offers a wonderful
short piece of summer travel writing in his blog
entry on his visit to the Cahokia Mounds State
Historic Site, outside of St. Louis. Archaeological
finds show that Cahokia was inhabited from about
700 to 1400 C.E. The site has been on the UNESCO
World Heritage List since 1982:

... "As my visit nearly coincided with the summer solstice,
the henge was lined up with the sun’s smoldering
descent as I peered at it from the top of Monks Mound.
The later towers to the American gods, the Gateway Arch
and the skyscrapers of modern St. Louis, were visible in a
view made slightly less spectacular by the haze of heat
and pollution. The area around old Cahokia is less than
savory, as I discovered. Right next to the Cahokia park,
just behind where I took these photographs, is the most
unseemly of sites, a garbage dump. That such things would
one day be visible all around—the interstates cutting
through the countryside, a bustling metropolis in the
polluted distance, the silvery rainbow of the arch—
could surely not have been conceived by the people
who put their sweat to raise this mound toward the sky."...


In April, the State of Illinois announced plans to fund a
feasibility study to help restore this historic site and
develop a world class tourism destination:


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