Thursday, June 26, 2014

#80: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

I'm not sure if Christopher Columbus discovered America, but depending on how you look at it, some parts of the future United States were occupied. Said to be 'America's oldest city', the land later known as Cahokia was founded in the 8th century (A.D.). It lingered for quite a while, for centuries. But by 1400, the area was a ghost town. Remember, this was nearly a century before Columbus' 'discovery' of America.

In the late 1600s, the Cahokia Indians (of the Illinois Confederacy) came to this area. The land took its name from them.

The state historic site is the home of the Woodhenge and the Monk's Mound. The mound is man-made, and contains 22 million cubic feet of dirt. Just think, if it were made of ice cream, it would be enough to feed everyone in America half a gallon! 154 steps lead you to the top of the mound where you can enjoy views of miles away (including the Arch). The Woodhenge consists of wooden posts and many other things that give visitors an idea of how the inhabitants lived 1,000 years ago. The indoor museum gives the visitors an introductory lecture through video and plenty of things that help people know what life was like in Cahokia, such as life-size models of villages.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is one of the few World Heritage sites in the United States that is not run by the federal government. At one time, an idea was brought up in the 1930's to make the land a national park. The idea was shot down by the government, possibly by Congress since it was during the Great Depression. But the state of Illinois has preserved it, after several decades of farming on the land by French and American settlers.

Cake sides:

An episode of KETC Channel 9's 'Living St. Louis' devoted to the Cahokia archaeologists

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site on FB
Wikipedia link
Official website

30 Ramey St., COLLINSVILLE, IL, 62234
Cake artist: Mark Swain  (this was his first of 10 decorated cakes)

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