Cahokia Mounds: 8th Wonder of the World

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Wouldn’t you love to get a glimpse of what ancient Native American life was like in North America? If so, then look no further than the historic Cahokia Mounds. Located right here in Illinois, Cahokia Mounds is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest prehistoric Native American city north of Mexico. Cahokia Mounds, part of the Great Rivers Country region of Illinois, is designated as one of only 21 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country and a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

Cahokia thrived as a city from 700 A.D. to 1400 A.D. At its peak, between 1050 A.D. and 1200 A.D., the city covered six square miles and was home to between 10,000 and 20,000 people. It is still a mystery what happened to the civilization of Cahokia, but the decline seems to have happened over a 200-year period.

Monks Mound of the Cahokia Mounds

Monks Mound of the Cahokia Mounds

The largest of the 120 mounds, Monks Mound, is 100 feet tall, or ten stories high. If you climb to the top of the mound, you can see a breathtaking aerial layout of the site of the ancient city. The Woodhenge, which uses sunlight to cast shadows that tell the time of day and season, is another fascinating find at the mounds. It exemplifies the sophisticated technology the people of Cahokia employed during their time.

Visitors can take individual or group guided tours, or explore the mounds on their own. The Interpretive Center offers a more in-depth historic analysis of the site, with life-size wax figures and scenes to depict prehistoric life in Cahokia. The Interpretive Center is home to a variety of artifacts found during archaeological digs of the 20th century, such as pottery, art and tools, which have given significant insight into the cultural traits of Cahokia.

Hut and wax figures in the museum

Hut and wax figures in the museum

For anyone looking to brush up on their history or simply see one of the sites that the has nominated as the 8th Wonder of the World, Cahokia Mounds is a fascinating place that will take you out of your reality and into another time. Click here to vote for Cahokia Mounds as the 8th Wonder of the World now through September 30.

— The Illinois Office of Tourism


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