At its peak in the mid-12th century, Cahokia was by far the largest native community in North America. Art: Greg Harlin.

I ran across a brief article on National Geographic Magazine’s blog about Cahokia. Funny that it isn’t really talked about or taught about more. It’s a World Heritage Site. It is pretty impressive.

A ten-story behemoth known as Monks Mound is the centerpiece of the 2,200-acre Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Eighty surviving mounds dot this cultural World Heritage site; some were used as building platforms, some for burials. Photo: Ira Block.

There was also a link to a photo gallery and some of the artwork found in these mound areas is incredible:

Mother effigy bottle, A.D. 1250 -1350; East St. Louis, Illinois. Photo: Ira Block, St. Louis Science Center.

Cedar mask, Circa A.D. 1400; Spiro Mounds, Oklahoma. Photo: Ernest Amoroso, National Museum of the American Indian.

I’m fascinated by these and other artifacts. Partly because they give us a glimpse into the past. And also because how we study, interpret, and care for these objects in the present says a lot about who we are. These objects are very important to a lot of people, but mainly to a select group of people. They aren’t part of our national story or celebrated by all Americans.

I wish I could change that. No, I hope I can change that!


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