cahokia indian mounds is a fascinating and little known world heritage site in illinois. other world heritage sites include the great wall of china and the pyramids in giza. we've been planning to go for 3 years, and have driven past it several times, but never made it a destination until a few weeks ago.
it was fascinating, and well worth braving the record-breaking heat wave that most of the central and eastern us was experiencing to explore. the photo above shows the largest mound, which has a foot print that is larger than the largest pyramids. there was once a huge, thriving, well-developed culture that built huge earthen structures here in north america. cahokia is just across the mississippi river (to the east) from st louis, missouri, near collinsville, illinois.
we forgot to get a photo of one of the most interesting remains at this site, a giant lunar calendar that has been named "woodhenge". it wasn't discovered until excavation for a freeway project in the 60's. it is a huge circle of giant wooden tree poles that line up with the solstices and equinoxes. this trip has opened us up to the little-known, and even at least somewhat covered up, cultures in ancient north america. it is becoming quite a controversial topic, but there is quite a bit of evidence coming to light that there may have been a purposeful mid 1800s governemnt "cover-up" of the artifacts and evidences of how highly developed the ancient peoples here had once been, because it didn't fit in with the plans for american expansion and domination of the native peoples. john wesley powell figures prominently in this supposed cover-up. i can't say for certain if it is true, but it is interesting.
view of downtown st. louis from teh top of the arch.