Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site



Description of Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Location: 30 Ramey Dr, Collinsville  Map

Tel (618) 346 5160

Open: 8am- sunset daily

Visitor Center: 9am- 5pm

Closed: public holidays

Official site

The main features of the site are the 70 remaining man-made mounds, the largest of which is Monks Mound, around 100 ft (30 m) tall. The rest of the 2,200-acre (890-hectare) site consists of many grass covered mounds that vary in size and shape, several interpretive trails and signage, a reconstruction of the Woodhenge sun calendar, and reconstructions of the palisade/stockade walls.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, 30 Ramey Street, Collinsville, ☎ +1 618 346-5160, e-mail:


Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is a massive settlement of Native Americans in Collinsville in the South Illinois in USA. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the largest archaeological site North of Mexico. Cachokia is an Amerindian archaeological site located near Collinsville (Illinois), on the Mississippi River Plain in the southwest of that state, near the city of St. Louis (Missouri). It is formed by a series of mounds or artificial earth mounds. Cachokia is the largest site related to the Mississippian culture, which developed an advanced society in eastern North America before the arrival of Europeans. It is estimated that Cachokia was founded four centuries before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America.


The region in which Cachokia is located was the territory of nomadic people who lived by foraging. The way in which Cachokia emerged and disappeared is a matter of discussion among specialists. According to some of them, the city could have been born of a collective consensus or, on the initiative of a very powerful small group. The period of flowering of Cachokia and other Mississippian cities corresponds to the X-XIII centuries of the Christian era. During that time the mounds of Cachokia were built, which are large agglomerations of land that was extracted from the vicinity of the city.

The situation in which the decline of Cachokia occurred is unclear. In general, hypotheses have been proposed that are not supported by strong evidence. Some researchers believe that the Mississippi Valley was subjected to a long drought that caused lower crop yields. Others propose that the city was involved in a series of external or internal political conflicts. Perhaps the end happened after a large flood of the Mississippi River that struck the base of the pyramid, taking ahead of all those who had not yet marched or fled by the increasing famine by successive droughts, or internal revolts for lack of hand of work that worked the earth.

The inhabitants did not leave written records, and the original name of the place is not known. "Cachokia" is the name of a tribe of illiniwek that lived in the region when the first French explorers arrived, in the seventeenth century, long after the abandonment of Cachokia. It is not known with certainty what current native groups may be the descendants of the Cachokia settlers, but the Osage consider themselves descendants of the Caahokians.


Fees and permits

Entrance to the site is free, though a donation of $7 for adults, $4 for children, and $15 for families is suggested.


Every day
Public Tours. During June, July, and August public one hour tours are conducted Wednesday through Saturday at 10:30AM and 2:30PM, and Sunday at 12:30PM and 2:30PM. The tour goes through the Grand Plaza to the Twin Mounds and Mound 72. During April, May, September, and October public tours are conducted on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30PM. No public outdoor tours Nov-Mar. No reservations are needed. Depending on the guide and the weather, some tours may go up Monks Mound. Free.
iPod audio-visual tours and other Self-Guided Tours. Available year round during operating hours. iPods are available for rental in the Museum Shop. These are loaded with three outside tour trails (Grand Plaza, Monks Mound, Woodhenge) and a tour through the exhibit gallery in the Interpretive Center. Adult and child versions of each tour are included on the iPod. Available in English, German, and Spanish. As an alternative, visitors can also obtain a free cassette player at the Information Desk for an audio tour of the three outside tour trails, or purchase a written version Guidebook for $1 in the Gift Shop (available in 12 languages). $3 (Groupon deals sometimes available).
Walk the site. In any season of the year, and every day of the week, the grounds of the site are open to walk from 8AM to dusk. See above options for self-guided tours during operating hours. Interpretive signs can be found along the trails and on days the Interpretive Center is closed, there is a box of brochures and trail maps outside the front door.
Geocaching. Geocaching is a sort of scavenger hunt using a GPS receiver to locate the hidden item. Several geocaches in the park have been created with official permission.