p>Although clearly visible today just south of Highway 40, this mound was noted neither by Patrick, McAdams, Thomas, or Peterson-McAdams. Moorehead appeared to be the first to notice this mound; it is located on both his 1923 map (as Mound 80) and on his 1929 map. Today it is 0.9 meters (3 feet) in height with a north-south dimension of 38 meters (124.7 feet) and an east-west dimension of 30 meters (98.4 feet). Probably substantially higher and smaller in basal dimensions at some earlier date, it had been greatly altered by cultivation by 1966. It may not have been noted earlier because timber obscured it.
Patrick does not show a mound near Mound 58, but Moorehead does on his 1929 map. After 1900, a mound is shown in that location on the Peterson-McAdams Map with a height of 10 feet (3.05 meters). Moorehead (1923: 39) incorrectly referred to Mound 54 as Mound 74. The UWM Map suggests that what Moorehead numbered 74 was a terrace extending toward the west from Mound 58. The earlier air photos and other maps indicate that a house had been built on Mound 74, and it may be that this mound is merely a reshaping of Mound 58 for construction of the house at the turn of the century.
This small mound, directly south of Mound 42, was first noted on the Moorehead 1923 map, although there it is numbered 78. In his 1929 map, Moorehead changed it to Mound 73.
This mound appears to be indicated on the Thomas Map of 1894 with a height of 10 feet (3.05 meters), and on the Peterson-McAdams Map of 1906 it has a height of 5 feet (1.5 meters). Moorehead describes it as a long mound with its east-west axis much longer than the north-south. No dimensions are given. There are no indications of any excavations having taken place in it. It is indicated today by a slight elevation under the area of the west entrance to the former Falcon Drive-In Theater.
This mound, about 850 meters (2,789 feet) south of Monks Mound, was not included on the Patrick Map. Patrick numbers 71 mounds, which he includes in the main portion of his map of the Cahokia site. The first map Moorehead published (1922) appears to be a very close copy of the Patrick Map. However, in his second publication (1923), he includes a very crude sketch obviously based upon the Patrick Map but with confused numbering of several mounds. On this one, the first map on which Mound 72 appears, he numbers it 77, and the number 72 he applies to the mound that Patrick numbers 53. In 1929, in his final publication on the Cahokia site, Moorehead returns to the numbering that Patrick used, assigning the number 72 to the mound discussed here. The UWM Map retains this number since it represents Moorehead’s final publication correcting errors of numbering on his previous map.
Mound 72 is a small, ridge-topped mound that appears on the McAdams Map of 1882 with a height of 10 feet (3.05 meters) and on the Peterson-McAdams Map of 1906 with a height of 8 feet (2.4 meters). Using the 127-meter (416.7-foot) contour as a base, the UWM Map shows a height of 1.8 meters (5.9 feet).
The mound is oriented differently than most mounds at the Cahokia site in that its long axis is on a northwest-southeast orientation approximately 30° north of east. The lenghth of this mound calculated on the basis of the 127-meter contour line is 42.6 meters (139.8 feet) and its narrow dimension is 21.9 meters (71.8 feet). Because of its orientation and some ideas about the nature of ridge-top mounds at the Cahokia site, this mound was excavated between 1967 and 1971 by crews from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In the southeast corner of Mound 72 were indications that a large post had been placed in the ground. The post was later removed but the pit into which it had been placed remained, and impressions of the log were found in the base of the pit. Supporting this log in the bottom of the pit had been two or more smaller logs, which were partially preserved. Radiocarbon dates on these logs give a date of approximately A.D. 950 for the time when the post was placed in the ground.
Excavations through the mound indicated that it had been constructed as a series of smaller mounds that were then reshaped and covered over to give the mound its final shape. Within these smaller mounds a series of features was excavated, mainly burial pits and burial deposits. More than 250 skeletons were recovered in various states of preservation.
One burial seemed to be an individual of great importance; he was buried with the remains of other individuals on what appeared to be a platform of shell beads. Near him were several retainers with grave goods accompanying them. Among these grave goods were several hundred arrowheads of very fine workmanship, separated into distinct categories. Among the categories were shapes and materials indicating relationships between Cahokia and areas as far away as Oklahoma, Tennessee, southern Illinois, and Wisconsin. Most of the burials and grave goods accompanying them suggest that many of the people buried in this mound were sacrificed, probably to accompany one or more important individuals. Data recovered from this mound indicate that distinct social stratification was present at the Cahokia site, and extensive economic relationships existed between Cahokia and widely separated areas of the middle portion of North America (Fowler 1969, 1972).
Although noted by Patrick, this small mound does not appear on most of the other maps, and it appears today only as a light spot on aerial photographs. It is hardly noticeable in the contours of the area. Patrick suggests it is a very small circular or conical mound. It is one of three mounds in the Rouch mound group.
This mound is also part of the Rouch mound group located in the southwest corner of the site. It is a very large mound, and Patrick illustrates it as a nearly square, flat-top mound. It is one of the mounds included in Patrick’s cross sections, and he gives a height in 1876 of 40 feet (12.2 meters). Thomas in 1894 gives a height of 45 feet (13.7 meters) and Peterson-McAdams in 1906, 35 feet (10.7 meters). Using the 130-meter (426.5-foot) contour as the base, the 1966 UWM Map shows a height of 9 meters (29.5 feet). Patrick gives a north south dimension of 300 feet (91.4 meters) and an east-west dimension of about 250 feet (76.2 meters). Again with a 130-meter base elevation, the UWM Map shows a north-south dimension of 77 meters (252.6 feet) and an east-west dimension of 75 meters (246.1 feet). The latter map, therefore, is in agreement with Patrick at least in showing the north south dimension as greater than the east-west dimension, although the 1966 dimensions are less than those given by Patrick.
Bushnell (1904) refers to Mound 70 as a “rectangular truncated pyramid.” He apparently based his description on Patrick’s as he gives exactly the same height and dimensions, noting that at the time he was writing the mound was cultivated.
Mound 70 has been intensively cultivated and until recent years a farmhouse and other farm buildings were located on it. The mound was purchased for inclusion in the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in the 1970s and the buildings removed. There are no published accounts of excavations in this mound.
This small mound is part of what is known today as the Rouch mound group in the southwest segment of the Cahokia site. It appears on Patrick’s map as a small, conical mound, but today it is only a very slight elevation, and it appears as a light mark in aerial photographs. Nothing else is known of this mound other than its location and that it was visible enough to be mapped in Patrick’s time, the air photos confirming its location. The Rouch mounds were included in some of the earliest photographs of the Cahokia site, indicating that at least over the last 40 to 50 years they have not been altered much in shape.
Just to the south of Mound 67 is what appears to be a flat-topped platform mound, Mound 68. The McAdams Map lists a height of 15 feet(4.6 meters) for this mound and Peterson-McAdams, 20 feet (6.1 meters). Using a 129-meter (423.2-foot) base line, the 1966 UWM Map shows a height of 7.4 meters (24.3 feet), a north-south dimension of 72 meters (236.2 feet), and an east-west dimension of 73 meters (239.5 feet). Moorehead refers only indirectly to Mound 68 in a description of the village or habitation area at the Cahokia site.
Southeast of the largest borrow pit at the Cahokia site is another set of paired mounds similar to Fox and Round Top. Mound 67 seems to be the conical mound of the pair. Surprisingly, through time the various estimates of height for this mound have increased. The McAdams Map of 1882 gives a height of 10 feet (3.05 meters); the Thomas Map,15 feet (4.6 meters); and the Peterson-McAdams Map, 25 feet (7.6 meters). Using the 129-meter (423.2-foot) contour line as a base, the 1966 UWM Map shows a height of 6.2 meters (20.3 feet). Using the same base elevation, the north-south dimension is 52 meters (170.6 feet) and the east-west dimension 47 meters (154.2 feet). There are no published indications that any excavations were carried out in this mound, and there are no data about it other than its form, which suggests that it is similar to Round Top Mound.
Referred to by Moorehead (1929) as the Harding Mound and by the US Geological Survey as the Rattlesnake Mound, Mound 66 is one of the largest mounds at the Cahokia site. What was locally referred to as Rattlesnake Mound (Mound 64) was partially destroyed by construction of the railroad tracks. The name seems to have been transferred to the Harding Mound by the USGS surveyors, causing some confusion.
Mound 66 is a long, ridge-topped mound, one of the few of this type at the site. Its form is marred by an unfilled trench that Moorehead cut through the mound in the 1920s. On recent maps the mound appears to have a notch through the middle. Mound 66 is one of the higher mounds at the site. McAdams, in 1882, gives a height of 30 feet (9.1 meters), whereas Thomas, in 1894, gives 20 feet (6.1 meters), and Peterson-McAdams in 1906, 25 feet (7.6 meters). Using the base elevation as the 129 meter (423.2-foot) contour, the 1966 UWM Map shows a height for this mound of 7.4 meters (24.3 feet). Using the same base elevation, the north-south dimension is 51 meters (167.3 feet) and the east-west dimension is 132 meters (433.1 feet). A. J. Throop (1928: 38-39) describes the mound in 1928:
Rattlesnake Mound is approximately five hundred feet long, two hundred feet wide, thirty feet in height. The top is beautifully rounded, furnishing an ideal situation for the four roomy tents of the explorers party. The surrounding ground is very low, with, however, a well-defined graded way running due north. Messrs. Jesse and James Ramey, who called to view the work, stated that this graded pass was extended north through their land toward the mounds immediately south of old Cahokia [Monks Mound].
When Mr. Taylor surveyed the mound he was amazed at the accuracy of the contour maintained by the builders, and expressed himself as puzzled that so great a pile of earth could be made so nearly true to keep its contour throughout the ages. At points two hundred feet east of center and two hundred feet west of center, less than one tenth of a foot difference in elevation was found. [Throop 1928: 38-39]
Due to fear that the railroad track just north of this mound would be expanded and destroy the area, Mound 66 was made the focus of intensive excavations sponsored by Moorehead’s party. The work was carried out by an engineer, J. L. B. Taylor, and Moorehead’s report is mostly a quoting of Taylor’s report on the mound excavations. Taylor carefully surveyed the mound in a grid system with the center line of the grid directly through what was thought to be the center of the mound. The plan of excavation was to put a 50-foot-wide (15.2-meter) trench, starting at the edge, through the mound along the north-south, or minor, axis. This plan would allow for a one-to-one slope of the side wall, so that by time the trench reached the bottom of the mound it would be only a few feet wide. This was, however, decided against since opening such a cut would have called “for removal of the office tent which although all four tents had been crowded against each other was nevertheless close against Stn. 16, major axis.” (Moorehead 1929: 74). Instead the trench was cut 15 to 20 feet to the west, somewhat off the center of the mound. Excavations through the top of the mound revealed burials. These burials are described as follows:
About 3 P.M., May 27, the slip team uncovered the knees of a human skeleton at a depth of three feet . . . and was then moved to the opposite edge of the cut in order not to interfere with the work of laying this skeleton bare by means of trowels. When the bones had all been cleaned off, they were given a coat of wet Spanish whiting to bring them in relief, and were then photographed, and left in place …. As there were traces of wooden coffins and number of nails and metal buttons and buckles found with these, we concluded that these burials were, probably, those of Frenchmen or early settlers.
They were reburied west of the mound, each accompanied by a bottle containing a note from myself telling where and under what circumstances they had been found. [Moorehead 1929: 74-75]
At a lower level, approximately 3 feet (0.9 meters) below the surface, a large number of burials were found. According to Taylor’s estimate, there were remains of at least 140 burials found in a poor state of preservation; traces of bones and teeth were all that remained.
Along with one of the burials was a chunky stone or discoidal, reportedly found on the face of the skeleton. A drawing in Moorehead’s report (1929: Plate xxxvi) gives rather specific dimensions for it although the description of the drawings says it was drawn from memory. It shows a chunky stone approximately 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in diameter; it is well turned out with flattened edges to the rim and a well-defined and large central depression on both sides. There is no indication of what kind of stone it is.
Besides the excavations, auger holes were drilled into the mound on both its east-west and north-south axes, and Moorehead presents a drawing (1929: Plate xxciii) to show the nature of mound construction as he could determine it from these tests. Moorehead thought that Mound 66 was built mostly of what he called gumbo. As nearly as can be determined, he is referring to a bluish black, very sticky, clay-like soil that is found in the southern portion of the Cahokia site just under the plow zone. Of this material, Moorehead asks:
Why were so many mounds built of gumbo? It is difficult to handle even our own men using modern steel shovels find it heavy and wearisome to remove. Possessed of naught but stone and shell hoes, digging sticks, and baskets or skin bags, the removal and transportation of sufficient gumbo to erect Mound 66 was a Herculean task. [Moorehead 1929: 104-106]
In any given area, it is probable that mounds made of this so-called gumbo were probably the first built, as this is the material which the Indians came upon first. Using that concept, Moorehead suggests that certain mounds were built earlier than others because no artifacts were found in their fill and because they were chiefly composed of black gumbo.
As to the function of ridge-top mounds in general and of Mound 66 in particular, Moorehead speculates:
It is too narrow on top for large wigwams or temples. The auger tests nearly two hundred to the base did not indicate the level or burnt floor common in mortuary tumuli. Beyond No.66 toward the north is an elevation flanked by two ponds or depressions. Old observers used to call this a causeway leading to other mounds. There being no village-site worthy of the name around No. 66, why the causeway? The burials found by Engineer Taylor a few feet below the surface, down the southern slope were made after the mound had been constructed. There appear to be no burials, altars, or distinct stratigraphy in the body of the mound. It must remain one of the mysteries of Cahokia and we may be pardoned again for referring finally to the series of complete and detailed maps drawn by Mr. Taylor, which cover every possible fact or circumstance of mound construction of this remarkable tumulus…. We have never believed that all these structures were erected within a short space of time, individually or as a group. Number 66 seems to show completion within limited dates, there being no sodlines. [Moorehead 1929: 104-106]
Moorehead (1929: 83-84) suggests that Mound 65 is “South 9° East, 994 feet” (303 meters) from Mound 64. Patrick records Mound 65 as a rather large, conical mound but does not give a height. McAdams in 1882 indicates a height of 25 feet (7.6 meters) and the Peterson-McAdams Map of 1906, 20 feet (6.1 meters). Using the 127-meter (476.7-foot) contour as a base line, the 1966 map shows a height of 6.2 meters (20.3 feet). There are several references to Mound 65 in Moorehead’s discussion, but usually in connection with other mounds. However, on one occasion, Moorehead (1929: 76) said: “Tests on Number 65 were completed by June 20…. There is a complete series of thirty-five or more maps on Mounds 65, 66 and other mounds, on file in the Museum of Natural History of the University of Illinois” (Moorehead 1929: 80).
He describes the shape of this mound as follows:
The ground plan appears to be almost a circle, but at a point approximately halfway up the slope the outline becomes noticeably rectilinear, and from there to the summit the mound might be described as prismoidal in form or, loosely, as a truncated pyramid of four sides or, but for unequal axial dimensions, as a truncated cone. But farming operations have disturbed the original perimeters, a drainage canal bank has been thrown up against the south-east slope, and the contents of at least two extensive pits, presumably test holes sunk within the last few years, have doubtless altered the original outlines of the summit, so that at this time the mound may for all practical purposes be considered the frustum of a cone. [Moorehead 1929: 81-83]
Moorehead describes a test hole sunk at what he calls “BM,” in most of his work the high point at a mound’s center, which “showed water at twenty-five and eight-tenths feet which is the same level as the surface of the water in a drainage canal to the south of the mound.” The water-bearing sand was “entered at from twenty-three to twenty-five feet and… was found in every one of the forty-four test holes put down” (Moorehead 1929: 82). Stratigraphy noted within the mound was described as follows:
Above this stratum of sand was found a deposit of stiff multicolored gumbo or clay in which red and yellow and their various shades predominated, and which for want of a better name, has been indicated… [in] cross section maps of this mound under its local name of ‘shale’. This stratum reached a maximum thickness of two feet under the central portions of the mound, but pinched out and disappeared altogether within from ten to twenty to twenty-five feet of the mound’s perimeter. This might lead to some speculation as to whether No. 65 was built on a low natural mound, speculation that is rather encouraged by examination of stratum immediately above the shale. This is a deposit of gray sandy gumbo, averaging less than twelve inches in depth, and always decreasing in every direction toward the perimeter of the mound. At a point within three feet from the east end of the major axis it disappears completely, only to reappear in increased depth two feet higher and twenty feet further east whence it sloped eastward under something more than a foot of pure gray sand.
Extending the entire length of the major axis and across at least the south half of the mound’s base, we found a sharply marked deposit of black gumbo, so dry and hard along the minor axis, where we sunk a line of test holes, that it was difficult to cut and so loose after being cut that it could hardly be kept in the augers for removal. At twenty feet… the augers went through a foot of hard dry sand, an entirely new formation to us but which was encountered later at eighteen feet under Stn. [station] 6, where it was nearly four feet deep and at about twenty and six-tenths feet under Stn. 18… where it was about two feet deep… these sand deposits… Iied at or below base and… under extremely dry and very hard black gumbo.
The central portions of No. 65 appear to be a mixed mass of black and yellow gumbo of about equal parts, and the whole was capped with a layer of black gumbo ranging from about one and one-half feet in thickness on the south slope to a maximum thickness of nearly six feet under BM. No remains of any kind were found within the mound, but twenty feet beyond Stn. D, in the field southwest of the mound, one very small sherd was taken from a depth of about three and two-tenths feet below surface. [Moorehead 1929: 82]
Sometimes known as True Rattlesnake Mound, Mound 64 is located between the railroad tracks directly south of Mounds 61 and 62. Patrick shows it as a rectangular mound with the long axis directly east-west. An 1892 photograph in the files of the Missouri Historical Society illustrates what may be this mound. It is labeled “Hayrick Mound of the Cahokia Group, Madison County, Illinois, 1892. One mile south of Cahokia Mound size 250 feet long, 12 feet wide, 50 feet [?] high.” No railroad tracks are visible in the photograph, so the mound may actually be Mound 66, but the dimensions given on the photograph are too short to be Mound 66 and the height too great.
The early maps recording this mound show it much lower. The McAdams Map of 1882 gives a height of 15 feet (4.6 meters) and the Peterson McAdams Map of 1906 only 8 feet (2.4 meters). It is difficult to know which of these is correct; for example, the dimension of 12 feet wide given on the Missouri Historical Society photo is not consistent with a mound 250 feet long and 50 feet high. Probably the width and height are reversed on the photo label. The 1966 UWM Map, which can show only portions of this mound since it is buried under the railroad tracks, suggests an east-west dimension of 73 meters (239.5 feet) and a north-south dimension of 27 meters (88.6 feet).
Moorehead wrote of Mound 64:
This lies to the extreme south of the group, fully a mile from Monks Mound, and many years ago was considerably damaged by the construction of the Baltimore and Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroads which pass on either side. Some of the earth was utilized in grading tracks. It is stated by older residents that the Baltimore and Ohio construction crew removed some two-thirds of the structure, and found a stone pipe, said to represent an eagle, about 20 inches in length. Diligent inquiry fails to indicate the present location of this specimen. The structure is composed of very heavy dark gumbo and although eight or ten test pits were dug by our crew, no pipes, skeletons, or other objects were uncovered. [Moorehead 1929: 8344]
The dimensions, reported Moorehead, were:
the major axis running N87° W, and from the highest point on which, taken as BM [Bench Mark], base appears at eleven and three tenths feet. Northward from BM, the minor axis extends sixty feet; southward, the center line of the B.&0. track lies at thirty feet, and the cutting operations necessary to laying this have seriously marred the entire south half of the mound. [Moorehead 1929: 8-84]
The Patrick Map shows Mound 63 as a small, conical mound in the southernmost portion of the area he mapped. There is no indication of the height on the Patrick Map, nor is it indicated on the McAdams Map of 1882 or the Thomas Map of 1894. However, the Peterson-McAdams Map of 1906 shows a mound that probably is Mound 63 with a height of 6 feet (1.8 meters). The 1966 UWM Map, using a 128-meter (419.9-foot) contour as a base, shows a height of 0.5 meters (1.6 feet). The contours on the USGS map of the Monks Mound quadrangle show a contour line at 420 feet (128 meters) outlining Mound 63 and an elevation at the top of 423 feet (128.9 meters), suggesting that in 1930 the mound was at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) high, probably higher. Again, this area has been extensively cultivated and the mound probably reduced.
Mound 62 is located near the large series of borrow pits in the southeast quadrant of the Cahokia site and is associated with Mound 61 and Mound 95. Mound 61 is shown by Patrick as a round, conical shaped mound. Patrick shows no height for it, but on the Peterson-McAdams Map of 1906 a height of 6 feet (1.8 meters) is given. The UWM Map, on the basis of the 127-meter (416.7-foot) contour, shows a height of 1.4 meters (4.6 feet). It appears that this mound has been less affected by destruction from plowing than Mound 61.
In 1923, Moorehead made the following comment (1923: 38):
On our large map are several areas marked ‘Village Site’. Readers should not conclude that wigwams existed merely at those places. Such markings indicate that at certain points we dug pits and found the indications of occupation extended several feet into the ground. We believe that all the area was occupied except a space south of the National road. This is bounded on the west by tumuli 68 and 70, on the south by 66 and 65, on the east by 64 and 62, and on the north by 77 [Mound 72]. We did not test very extensively in this area but where we did so, little was found.
There is no evidence, however, that Moorehead dug or tested Mound 62.
Both Mounds 61 and 62 are in association with a large borrow pit in the southeast quadrant of the site. A recent survey suggests that there is a mound (Mound 95) not noted by Patrick or other investigators on the northeast side of this borrow pit. Patrick shows Mounds 61 and 62 linked by a sort of U-shaped causeway. No recent maps have indicated this, so it is a little difficult to interpret Patrick’s map. On the USGS map, particularly the 1930 compilation from the original field notes, there is a U-shaped topographic feature that may represent Patrick’s configuration. In the spring of 1978, I noted a vegetation pattern between these two mounds that almost matched Patrick’s description.
Patrick does not give a height for this mound. McAdams in 1882 gives 10 feet (3.05 meters), and Peterson-McAdams in 1906, 14 feet (4.3 meters). The 1966 UWM Map, using a 127-meter (416.7 feet) base contour, shows a height of 1.9 meters (6.2 feet).
This area has been extensively cultivated in recent years, and the difference between the heights given by the earlier investigators and the 1966 Map may reflect deflation from intensive cultivation. As a consequence, the borrow pits in the area have undoubtedly filled in since Patrick’s time, although they are still clearly visible in the topography of the area and retain moisture.
The Patrick Map shows Mound 61 as rectangular with a much longer north-south axis. The UWM Map, however, shows this as a long, oval-shaped mound with a much longer east-west axis. Whether the discrepancy is the result of cultivation or an error on Patrick’s map cannot be determined. The east-west orientation is in agreement with Moorehead’s rendering of this mound in his interpretation of the Patrick Map in 1929.
Moorehead gives some indication of the height of Mound 61: “Two pits were sunk and by means of the augers we tested to the base, a distance of 20 feet” (Moorehead 1923: 35-36). Since Moorehead does not define what he considers the base, he may have considered the natural gumbo surface of the area as part of the mound. This might account for the difference in height between the Peterson-McAdams estimate and Moorehead’s.
When Moorehead worked in this mound, he reported the following:
This is an oval mound located between the two ponds on land owned by Mrs. William Tippetts. Externally it is rather promising, and as it is shaped not unlike altar mounds of the Ohio Valley, the survey decided to test it. Much to our surprise we found it composed of exceedingly heavy, black gumbo…. Very little in the way of material was encountered. The mound appeared to be unstratified. [Moorehead 1923: 35-36]
Moorehead goes on to comment on the relationship of Mound 61 to village site material— pottery fragments, bone fragments or broken stone:
The soil around Mrs. Tippetts’ Mound is mostly gumbo; the village site indications are not heavy, but several hundred yards north, where there is less gumbo, the village was thickly populated. It does not seem likely that the Indians would go any distance to secure the earth for the construction of No. 61. It would be more convenient to obtain it from points nearby and the two depressions marked ‘lakes’ on the map probably represent the places from which the earth was taken for 61 and 62. [Moorehead 1923: 49]
Because there was no pottery or other artifacts in this mound, Moorehead suggested that it was one of the earlier ones built at the site (Moorehead 1923: 47, also 1929: 58 and 105).
Associated with Round Top, Mound 60 is a large, rectangular platform mound known as the Fox Mound. These two mounds seem to be united by a platform since a contour line surrounds them both on the UWM Map. The contour may, however, only represent a blending of the slope wash, or talus slopes, of the two mounds coming together. They probably were a unit since the relationship to each other is matched by other paired mounds at the site. They seem strongly reminiscent of the association of platform charnel-house mounds and conical burial mounds in ethnohistoric period of the southeastern United States.
Mound 60 is shown on the Patrick Map as a rectangular mound with the longer axis north-south. Measurements based on the Patrick Map suggest a north-south dimension of 160 feet (48.8 meters) and an east-west dimension of 125 feet (38.1 meters). Patrick shows a cross section of Mound 60, noting a height of 46 feet (14 meters). The later maps are consistent with Patrick’s measurements: McAdams’ of 1882 indicating a height of 45 feet (13.7 meters); Thomas 1894, 50 feet (15.2 meters); and Peterson-McAdams of 1906, 30 feet (9.1 meters). The 1966 UWM Map, using a 129-meter (423.2-foot) elevation as a base line, gives a height of 12.3 meters (40.4 feet). Bushnell (1904) refers to this as a rectangular, truncated pyramid with a height of 46 feet (14 meters), a north-south dimension of 160 feet (42.8 meters), and an east-west dimension of 125 feet (38.1 meters). Photographs of Fox Mound appear in several publications (Bushnell 1922: Figures 1 and 2; Parrish 1906; Moorehead 1929: Plate V; Titterington 1938: Figures 2 and 4).
There is no indication of excavation in this mound. Moorehead merely refers to it as one of the larger mounds of the site (1923: 48). It has not been cultivated and retains much of its original form today.
About 500 meters (1,640 feet) directly south of Monks Mound are two of the more impressive mounds at the site. One of these—Mound 60—is a well-formed, flat-top platform mound. Directly to the west of Mound 60 is a conical mound of considerable elevation, Mound 59 (Moorehead’s Mound 57), commonly known as Round Top Mound. Patrick shows it as a true conical mound about 44 feet (13.4 meters) in height. The height of this mound recorded by map makers is more consistent than for most mounds. The McAdams Map of 1882 indicates 40 feet (12.2 meters); the Thomas Map,48 feet (14.6 meters); and the Peterson-McAdams Map, 35 feet (10.7 meters). Using the 128-meter contour line as a base, the 1966 UWM Map shows a height of 12.1 meters (39.7 feet).
One of the Cahokia site’s more imposing mounds, Mound 59 has been photographed many times (Moorehead; 1929: Plates 4 and 5; Parrish 1906; Titterington 1938: Figure 2 and Figure 4). Examination of these photographs and height data indicates that this mound is as untouched as any and maintains its original size and form relatively well.
There appears to have been no professional digging in Mound 59. Moorehead refers only to its being unexamined, and that, therefore, it is possible that there are interments in it (Moorehead 1923: 48). There were, however, other types of excavations in the mound. In one of these it appears that a burial and a hammered copper ornament were found (Titterington 1938: 11; Moorehead 1929: 90). The person who excavated the object was A. E. Postmueller, and Moorehead recorded the event: “A copper serpent was found by a boy on the surface not far from the Mound No.76 [Mound 59] in the summer of 1922. The serpent effigy was some four or five inches long, composed of a thin copper sheet with no filigree work” (Moorehead 1929: 90, Plate 1).
Postmueller made the following comment about Moorehead’s account:
This statement is not entirely correct. Therefore, the following facts are given. The serpent was found by three boys [one of whom was Postmueller], not on the surface and not near Mound No.76 [Mound 59], and in the autumn of 1915, instead of 1922… One Sunday late in the autumn of 1915 Bartley Hurst came to my home in Belleville to talk about and see my small collection. He suggested we go to Collinsville to see Oscar Schneider. After early lunch we took the Interurban Electric Line to Collinsville to visit Schneider. He took us to the Cahokia Mounds to do some surface hunting. It was my first trip to the mounds and I as surprised and awed by the immense size and extent of the group. I had never read anything about them and had heard very little of them, so my first visit impressed me profoundly. We roamed over the fields, surface hunting as boys do… and worked our way to Round Top Mound, which is Number 57 [actually Mound 59] on the map of J. J. R. Patrick of 1880. On the southwest side of the mound we found a trail or rough path so we climbed to the top. There, located in the southwest part of the top was a fair sized hole which had been previously dug… about four feet long, three feet wide and three feet deep…. from two to ten years before or even longer. We started to clean out the bottom of the old hole. We found fragments of pottery, charcal[sic], bone and the usual material. We had nothing to dig with except a trowel that Oscar Sczhneider brought along. One of us went to the sheds that extended south from the house and barn on Mound 48, finding a broken spading fork which we appropriated for our use… It had been cloudy all afternoon and now the thin mist began to change to a drizzle. We knew that we could not dig long, because it was getting late and would soon be dark. We had moved only a few bushels of earth when we came to a skeleton, and upon the chest lay the figure of a serpent. It was simply a thin sheet of copper, cut or formed in the shape of a serpent’s tail. It had a dark green and bluish color with darker pieces of patina. Evidently there was originally more of it at the larger end, but we did not find the missing part or anything else. After we had examined it, I became the owner and have retained it to this day. [Grimm 1949: 13-14, emphasis added]
Directly south of Mound 42, Patrick indicates a rather large conical mound that he numbered 58. Patrick records no height for this mound. The McAdams Map of 1882 gives 20 feet (6.1 meters); the Thomas Map of 1894, 15 feet (4.6 meters); and the Peterson-McAdams Map of 1906, 14 feet (4.3 meters). Moorehead refers to it only as one “of the very large mounds” (Moorehead 1923: 48). The 1930 survey for the USGS Monks Mound quadrangle shows three 5-foot (1.5-meter) closed contours in this area. The elevation of the top of this mound is given as 440 feet (134.1 meters) above sea level. This would indicate a height of about 20 feet (6.1 meters). By 1966 the mound was only 1 meter (3.3 feet) high. Although the earlier maps indicate some lowering of Mound 58 through time, it seems apparent that its major destruction was after 1930. It may have been mostly leveled during construction of the nearby Falcon Drive-In Theater.
This area has been cultivated for many years, and the mound today is indistinct in the contour lines of that area. Based upon those contours, it appears the mound spread to the north and south. In the 1920s, when Moorehead worked in the area, he added a Mound 74 just to the west of Mound 58. It may be, however, that this is just part of Mound 58 disturbed in the 50 years from the time of Patrick to Moorehead. Modern contours in the area show no well-defined second mound but rather an extension to the west that appears to be something like a platform or terrace. Had there been another mound so close to Mound 58, Patrick and his surveyors would surely have indicated it on their map.
Based upon all the previous maps and recorded observations, Mound 58 was a large, conical mound which in the late 1800s was probably 20 feet (6.1 meters) or more in height. There is no reference to any excavation conducted in this mound.
There are many points of confusion regarding mound numbers on Moorehead’s maps. In the case of the mounds Patrick numbered 57 and 59, Moorehead consistently reversed these numbers. On Patrick’s map, what is now called Round Top Mound is clearly marked as Mound 59. Moorehead assigned 57 to Round Top Mound. As stated earlier, this atlas adheres to Patrick’s assignment of numbers.
Mound 57 is directly south of Mound 48; it is numbered and shown on the Patrick Map as a relatively large, round or conical mound. The McAdams Map of 1882 gives a height of 10 feet (3.05 meters), though both the Thomas Map (1894) and the Peterson-McAdams Map (1906) give a height of 5 feet (1.5 meters). The 1966 UWM Map indicates only an irregular contour in this area with an elevation point, which suggests that the height of the mound in 1966 was only 0.8 meters (2.6 feet). This is indicative of the intense cultivation that has leveled the mound, though there is no record of it being destroyed deliberately to level the ground for farming. Excavations would undoubtedly show the remaining base of the mound and perhaps provide some clue to its true size and date of construction.
Aside from Monks Mound, Mound 56 is one of the most illustrated mounds at Cahokia. Both Wild and Bodmer show it as a tall, even accounting for some exaggeration of vertical scale, ridge-top mound. Both of these illustrations were drawn in the 1840s before extensive cultivation of this area had taken place. Today the mound is greatly altered from its original form by cultivation and appears as a low, domed rise. Mound 56 is shown as conical on the Patrick Map. The McAdams Map of 1882 gives a height of 15 feet (4.6 meters); the Thomas Map of 1894, 12 feet (3.7 meters); and the Peterson-McAdams Map of 1906, only 5 feet (1.5 meters). The 1966 UWM Map, using a base elevation of 127 meters (416.7 feet), shows a height of 3.9 meters (12.8 feet) for this mound. It is hard to understand how Peterson-McAdams could have given a height of only 5 feet in 1906 unless they confused it with some other nearby mound. However, the location seems to be most closely related to this mound.
In his report, Moorehead describes Mound 56, also known as the Jesse Ramey Mound, as follows:
This is about twenty feet in height at the present time, the base diameter some three hundred feet. It is the second mound directly south of Monks. It is not quite clear whether this was originally an oblong mound or of the pyramid type since it has been cultivated for many years. Some twenty-five men were employed in the work and a trench sixty-five feet in length and ten feet deep was extended from near the base on the south side to a line some distance from the center. Then test pits were sunk and post augers used. Five or six feet farther down^(a total depth of fourteen or sixteen feet) we came upon rather soft, dark earth quite different from the clay and gumbo of which most of the mounds are composed. It resembled the earth found about burials in the several mounds of the Hopewell group. There were a few scales of copper, and some fragments of a highly finished pottery. That is, fragments recovered indicate the finer pottery such as accompanies burials. This mound was tested during our first season. At a subsequent visit the Ramey family did not care to have it explored. Now that it is state property, it is recommended that thorough exploration be undertaken. [Moorehead 1929: 37-38]