Did You Know That Illinois Was Once Home to a Sophisticated Prehistoric Civilization?
Cahokia Mounds Museum Society
Residents of Southern Indiana are familiar with the Angel Mounds, an area considered to be "one of the best-preserved, pre-contact Native American sites in North America." What many people (myself included) may NOT know is that there is another amazing Native American site not far from here, in the town of Collinsville, Illinois.
Collinsville is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Evansville, IN, and located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, MO - and it is where you will find the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. I have to admit I had never heard of Cahokia before, which is hard to believe considering how massive this civilization once was. Cahokia thrived for hundreds of years and was home to thousands of residents. Here is how unesco.org describes Cahokia...
Located in Collinsville, Illinois near the city of St. Louis, this largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico is the pre-eminent example of a cultural, religious, and economic centre of the Mississippian culture (800–1350), which extended throughout the Mississippi Valley and the south-eastern United States. This agricultural society may have had a population of 10,000–20,000 at its peak between 1050 and 1150, which was equivalent to the population of many European cities at that time. It once covered more than 1,600 hectares and included some 120 mounds.
Plan a Trip to the Cahokia Mounds
What remains of this ancient civilization is located on 2,200 acres within the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which includes the 100-foot-high Monks Mound, the largest earthwork in North America. The site's Interpretive Center appears to be closed while renovations are completed, but there is still plenty to see and do, but be prepared to walk. The Cahokia Mounds Museum Society is in charge of the site and recommends you wear comfortable clothing and shoes, as well as hats and sunscreen, and bring bottled water and insect repellent.