How to Take A Sustainable Trip To The Cahokia Mounds Historic Heritage Site
I wondered what mounds the US Senator, Evelyn M. Bowles, was talking about when she wrote, “Through the years my friends and I made occasional Sunday afternoon trips to the mounds. When I became the State Senator, it afforded me the opportunity to secure funds for the acquisition of additional acreage in which there are smaller mounds. Many of these contained additional artifacts.” But a bigger wonder is why she and her friends believe the mounds make for sustainable trips that they visit almost every Sunday. Not just that. I wondered as well what millennial cultures and heritages or, as she said, ‘additional artifacts’ could have been in these mounds that should deserve such a genuine and passionate effort of transformation and protection by the state. I decided to know more about these mounds and, if interesting and adventure-packed enough, have my own enriching trip. But, little did I know that I would be learning of a place of ancient Indian settlements, where I would be brought so close in contact with historic Indian livings, cultures, and rituals that existed before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. And still will have so many that will take my return trip to cover. This place is the UNESCO-recognized Cahokia Mounds Historic Site.
Now, I have to take my trip to the mounds
Cahokia Mounds Historic Site is on the Mississippi River floodplain opposite St. Louis, Missouri, near Cahokia and Collinsville, Southwestern Illinois, United States. The site originally consisted of around 120 mounds placed on a land area of 16 square kilometers. But, as I later learned, only about 70 of the mounds are preserved in this site as others and their ancient features have been destroyed. Well, 70 mounds to see? That is already more than enough. Why would I want to see all 120 if they were there?
These 70 mounds stand on a land area of 8.9 square kilometers in Cahokia. The city, Cahokia, was first occupied in AD 700 and flourished. from around 950-1350 AD. That is some long age. I never can imagine all that lies in this historic site. To see all that is here would take weeks or months, or even years. Archeologists have been on it for years now, and they keep uncovering more artifacts and histories. How would I take only a few weeks to see all? That would be impossible and funny at the same time. So I decided to see only the most notable features and mounds on this site.
The first notable mound here is the pyramid-shaped Monks Mound, the largest and central focus of the city. Once you have climbed to the top, it is a whole mind-blowing experience. A nearby packed car appears like a child’s toy, as the whole city’s environs stretch out like in a map. With four terraces and standing 10 stories tall, it is the largest man-made mound in the Western Hemisphere made of earth. It contains about 25 million cubic feet of raw earth. I need not doubt the given figure. The size of what I saw is evident enough. From here, I moved around to observe the second marvel.
It is the Urban Landscape around the Monks Mound. It was built to reveal the ancient Indian view of four-cornered earth. You would see the smooth terrains running North-South and East-West, with the Monks Mound near its center. Four large Plazas are positioned on the terrains to the East, West, South, and North. Such architecture and engineering, I know, is above the age in which these Indians existed.
But there is another mound, the Mound 72?
The Mound 72 is another notable feature in the Cahokia site. It is a ridge-top burial mound. It is located south of the urban precinct. Archeologists have recovered more than 250 skeletons from this mound. Most of these skeletons, according to scholars, were those of sacrificial victims. This is as found in this mound are four young male skeletons with their hands and heads missing, a mass grave of more than 50 women around 21 years of age with bodies arranged in two layers, and another mass grave containing 40 men and women who forensic analysis confirmed to have been violently killed. So scaring I know. But, they bring you just so close to the ancient rituals and cultures of those ancient Indians. I knew from the moment I arrived here that it is going to be enough thrilling and educating adventures. You will have more of them just as I. And there still will be more.
The other notable mounds and features (the Cahokia Woodhenge, Copper Workshop, and related mounds) I would leave for the next day to see. I have to check back at The Lemp Mansion Restaurant & Inn where I am lodged.
Now, the other wonderful things around here
The Lemp Mansion provides comfortable and fun-packed lodging for travelers to the Cahokia site. It is located just a little distance drive opposite the Historic Mounds, still in St. Louis, Missouri. You would not have to worry or search for a place to get accommodation, rejuvenation, or relaxation after the day’s wanderings as you would not even need to go a long way off your travel site to get this accommodation. With as low as $160.59, you would have a soothing room to stay overnight. I was not only provided with lodging here, but I also had some very good guest’s treats. The food is good and the services as well.
But if you ever feel like having something that is not readily available at The Lemp Mansion, like some barbecued meat and other meat treats, then you have to drive to the Salt+Smoke Restaurant. This restaurant is in nearby St. Charles, still in Missouri. I had to relax here, and treat myself to some great refreshment. It is really cool down here in the Salt+Smoke. But, not as much cool as the museum nearby. That is the Lewis and Clarke Boathouse Museum in St. Charles. A little walk from the Restaurant could bring you to the museum. Here, you will experience the 1803-1806 historic expeditions of Lewis and Clarke. Not only that. You will be allowed a thorough look at the Keelboats and red pirogues used in those great expeditions.
For a site to have around it just everything you need for a sustainable adventure, travel, and relaxation is great. But, to still be able to connect you to our past human cultures, heritages, and histories is greatly unlikely. But, that is all you get in the Cahokia Mounds Historic Site and environs. Have your own trip to the mounds, and then complete the story.