At the present location of a motel at coordinates N410E1914 is Mound 104, based upon evidence still visible behind the motel. The elevation and the Reeves aerial photographs suggest this was a mound. Oscar Snyder (personal communication), however, believes it is not a mound.
Mound 103 is located partially under and in the yard of an elementary school. Except for a slight elevation there are no modern indications of this mound. However, there is sufficient elevation at the 128-meter (419.9-foot) contour line to suggest that the base of the mound may still be present.
These two mounds are surrounded by the 128 meter (419.9-foot) contour line, which was probably created by the leveling of the mounds. There is a high point, more or less in the center of this general area, at 128.2 meters (420.6 feet). Walking over the area, one detects slight rises in elevation at approximately the coordinates given for the mounds, indicating their remnants. Trenches would help determine if mounds had stood there prior to 1933. It would also suggest what data remain to determine the time of their approximate construction and their relationship to other mounds at the Cahokia site.
Mound 100 is located where a church now stands north of the Collinsville Road (Highway 40) and to the east of Black Lane. The mound is difficult to observe today because of the modern construction and grass. No surface examiniaton of this area is possible under the present conditions.
Close to Mound 97 are indications of two other mounds. Mound 98 is clearly indicated in the 1933 photos. It is enclosed by the 128-meter (419.9-foot) contour line and has a peak elevation of 128.3 meters (420.9 feet). It coincides with the location indicated by the early air photos. Northwest of Mound 98 the air photos show another probable mound, Mound 99.Today it is covered with structures and a small street.
Mounds 98 and 99 are near a depression that may be an aboriginal borrow pit. This well-defined depression is 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) deep. It is observable on the 1933 photos, but not on the 1931 USGS map. It should be examined and a test excavation made to determine if it is indeed a prehistoric feature.
Examination of the easternmost aerial photo taken of the Cahokia site in 1933 by Lt. Dache Reeves reveals soil disturbances suggestive of elevations being leveled by team-and-slip operations. Although the flight lines of these aerial photos are such that it is difficult to get good stereoscopic examinations of these points, they appear to be mounds that were being leveled at that time. Examination of the 1922 oblique photographs of the same area show no indications of mounds, possibly because of the distorted view that these obliques give of this easternmost area near Canteen Creek. The USGS topographic map indicates some contour line elevations in the general area, although not in exactly the same spots indicated by the aerial photographs. There was probably a series of mounds in this area.
Only those mounds visible in the Dache Reeves photos are considered in this section. As noted above, other elevations on the USGS maps may indicate mound locations. The data on those locations are, however, insufficient, so no further mention of them will be made in this publication. More intensive examination may confirm details of the topographic map, allowing identification of more mounds. The ones considered here appear on the Dache Reeves photos, on the 1966 UWM Map, and were identified by surface examination. Together these data make it possible to suggest these are mound locations.
One mound so indicated is located at N520E1584. In 1933 this area was an open field, but it is now intersected by a street paralleling Black Lane. The Dache Reeves photo shows a white soil disturbance scar at this point. This is Mound 97.
To the southeast of Borrow Pit 5-1 is a small but obvious mound located in Section 5W at grid coordinate S940W35; it is designated Mound 96. A low elevation is observable in the area. It was not noticeable in the 1960s because of the trees and brush growing in the area. However, in the 1970s, much of the brush was cleared, revealing a low rise. This low mound is probably associated with Mound 72 to the northeast; it may have been the location of a charnel house from which body remains were taken for burial. It should be tested to determine its man-made nature and possible association with Mound 72.
Summer 1998 Project
The Cahokia Mounds Museum Society has agreed to partially support Dr. Melvin Fowler, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with his continue search for confirmation of another Woodhenge type structure in the area of Mound 72 and 96. He has had crews in the field for several seasons during the 90s and believes he has evidence to support his hypothesis for the existence of the post-circle monument.
The focus of this year’s project will be to examine basin type features beneath Mound 96 and others nearby. The length of the project depends on receipt of a grant from the National Science Foundation, but will start sometime in mid-June.
To the northeast of Borrow Pit 5-2 is a large mound that previous investigators have not numbered. It is designated Mound 95 on the UWM Map. The high point of Mound 95 is at 127.6 meters above sea level (418.6 feet). It is completely surrounded by the 127-meter (416.7-foot) contour line, though the mound is probably higher. Its exact base is not well defined by the contour line.
There is evidence from early aerial photos and surface debris that a structure stood on this mound in the 1920s. It is possible that this mound was created when modern buildings were constructed. However, the prehistoric pottery found on the surface and the nature of the elevation suggest that it is a prehistoric mound. Its association with a borrow pit as well as its location directly across the borrow pit from Mounds 61 and 62 also support this. This arrangement is very similar to that of Mound 93 and with Borrow Pit 5-4 and Mounds 67 and 68. They are almost mirror images of each other in their relationship to other mounds, borrow pits, and to the central portion of the Cahokia site.
Surrounding the large Borrow Pit 5-1 are several small promontories whose heights give the appearance of mounds, albeit very low ones. Oscar Snyder (personal communication) suggests that at least one is a mound, here designated Mound 94. It is located in Section 5Q. A very large tree in the area obscures the mound on the UWM Map. Mound 94 is tentatively identified as a mound associated with Borrow Pit 5-1.
In Section 5P, a contour elevation at 128 meters (419.9 feet) near Borrow Pit 5-4 suggests the remains of another mound. This has not been confirmed, though, because the area is wooded today and surface reconnaissance is difficult. It is tentatively labeled Mound 93, but further investigation needs to be carried out to confirm or reject the designation. An elevation there of 128.3 meters (420.9 feet) and a nearby lower point of 127.5 meters (418.3 feet) establishes a height of 0.8 meter (2.6 feet) Mound 93. It is located across Borrow Pit 5-4 from Mounds 67 and 68.
Just to the south of Mound 91 and cut by the modern highway and its ditches is another possible mound, Mound 92. It shows only as a slight elevation just below the 128-meter (419.9 foot) contour line. On some air photos there is a semicircular white area that suggests a mound disturbed by modern construction and cultivation. Its presence could be tested by cutting an east-west trench paralleling the highway ditch starting at about N20W746. If a mound is confirmed here, the four mounds (43, 44, 91, and 92) logically enclose a plaza, one designated the West Plaza (Fowler 1978a).
Several previously unnumbered mounds have been located in Section 5. Just to the north of a line between Mounds 43 and 44 is an obvious mound in Section 5F that was missed by previous investigators. It is observable from the highway and on foot. It is indicated on the UWM Map by an elevation of 128.6 meters (421.9 feet) above sea level and is surrounded to the north by the 128-meter (419.9-foot) contour line, making its height only 0.6 meters (2 feet). This mound has been referred to by some Cahokia investigators as Mound 43A since it is nearest to that mound. Mounds 91, 43, and 44 surround what appears to be a plaza. Washington University crews made a surface collection of the area in 1971, and the presence of a plaza was confirmed by the absence of cultural debris.
At N154W1660 is a modern house on top of a mound-like structure. Superficially, it appears to be a very well-preserved mound upon which modern residents have built their house. It has been examined quite extensively, although the contours do not show up on the 1966 UWM Map. It does, however, appear very clearly on the 1930-1931 compilation for the USGS map. There are other houses in various subdivisions that are on somewhat lower mound-like elevations, and in most cases these elevations are the result of house construction. That is, soil removed when the foundations or the basements were excavated was mounded up around the foundation, creating a slight contour elevation. Most of these elevations do not appear to be of aboriginal origin, as they fit too neatly the pattern of the distribution of modern houses. Mound 90, however, is much larger than the others, and its location does not fit the modern construction pattern. Because of its size, location, and unique nature, it has been designated a mound.
This mound appears as an irregular contour in the vicinity of N1400E0, in Section 4 just to the north of Mound 11. North of the contour is what is obviously a borrow pit. It was examined by the author several years ago and was designated a mound because of its proximity to the borrow pit, its appearance, and its relationship to other mounds.
To the west of Mound 89 at N1400W200 is a similar contour. Visual inspection suggests that it does not have the regularity exhibited by Mound 89; therefore, it has not been designated a mound.
To the southwest of the Powell Mound, Patrick shows a small mound roughly oval in shape with a northwest axis. A similar mound is shown on the McAdams Map of 1882; he gives a height of 20 feet (6.1 meters). This is probably the same mound, though the McAdams’ location is a bit more difficult to confirm since the scale of his map is not as precise as Patrick’s. It does have the same oval shape with a north-south axis. A mound in a similar location is shown with a height of 10 feet (3.05 meters) on the Thomas Map of 1894. There is no indication of this mound on the 1966 UWM Map since its location was on the edge of the map and the area was being destroyed at that time.
Workers from the University of Illinois at the Powell Mound made a map with a 1-foot contour interval, and it shows a mound with a height of approximately 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters). This appears to be where Mound 88 would be. There are no published references to Mound 88, and it is now totally destroyed; it is in the parking lot of the discount store mentioned above.
Patrick shows a small mound that lay in a line from the Powell Mound through Mound 84, south and near the present Collinsville Road. This mound is not noted by Moorehead, nor was it apparent on the USGS map. On the 1966 UWM Map, there is a slight elevation point shown at what would be the approximate location of this mound just north of Highway 40 (Collinsville Road), and this may represent the remnant of this small mound. It has, unfortunately, been totally destroyed; it is at the entrance and parking lot of the discount store.
At what is generally considered the western edge of the Cahokia site was a large, rectangular-based, ridge-topped mound that is known as the Powell Mound after the property owners in the 1930s. The Powell Mound is shown rather distinctly on the additional segment of the map made by Patrick and his surveyors in the late 1870s. Dr. Paul A. Titterington, the St. Louis physician and local archaeologist, saw the mound and later observed its destruction in the 1930s. He describes it as follows:
“This mound, Number 46 in the Moorehead classification, was 310 feet long, 180 feet wide and 40 feet high. It was the most symmetrical mound in the group and was shaped like a large Hayrick.” (Titterington 1938: 15)
Fortunately, the mound was still standing in 1922 when Lt. Goddard of the US Army Air Service took oblique photographs of the site (Goddard 1969; Hall 1968; Fowler 1977). One was a low oblique shot of Powell mound group. It shows the nature Mound 86 and its shape, which conforms very well with the description by Titterington.
Scaling data from the Patrick Map indicates a north-south dimension of 150 feet (45.7 meters) and an east-west dimension of 300 feet (91.4 meters). Moorehead gives a north-south dimension of 170 feet (51.8 meters) and an east-west dimension of 310 feet (94.5 meters). Various heights have been recorded for this mound: Patrick in 1876 indicates a height of 45 feet (13.7 meters); McAdams in 1882, 30 feet (9.1 meters); Thomas in 1894, 35 feet (10.7 meters); Peterson-McAdams in 1906, 30 feet (9.1 meters); and Moorehead in 1929, 40 feet (12.2 meters). The dimensions are rather consistent, indicating an unchanging size through time. Given Titterington’s description and early photos, it appears that the mound had retained its primary form.
Because of its outstanding form and shape, the Powell Mound has been photographed and illustrated in many publications (Bushnell 1902: Figure 104: Moorehead 1929: Plate 39; Titterington 1938: Figures 35, 46, 48, 50 and 51).
As discussed at several points in this atlas, Moorehead referred to the Powell Mound as Mound 46, whereas Patrick did not number it and used 46 for another mound. It is unfortunate that the numbering for this mound is confused. I feel it important to maintain Patrick’s number 46 for the mound he intended it to represent, which is still partially preserved under the fill of the Interstate 55-70 (see discussion of Mound 46). Therefore, the number 86 has been assigned to the Powell Mound. However, those working at the site in the 1930s followed Moorehead’s lead, thus in much of the literature it is referred to as Mound 46.
Unfortunately, the Powell Mound was partially destroyed in 1930 and 1931. Titterington describes the event:
In December of 1930 and January of 1931, all but 5 feet of its base was removed, the object being to fill in an area of low ground 200 to 400 yards to the northwest. By doing this, the owners were able to put their whole tract of about 50 acres under cultivation.
It is regrettable that information from this mound was almost completely lost to science. The loss was due to lack of funds by the scientific institutions, and to the lack of public interest. For a period of several years the Powell brothers had a standing offer of $3,000 and 3 years time open to any institution that cared to study the mound; the only conditional requirement was that the dirt removed be placed in an area of low ground 200 to 400 yards away. The undertaking was too big for those scientifically interested, even with the financial assistance offered by the owners. It seems that the state wanted to buy the mound with a 50 foot margin around the base and a road leading to the main highway. This proposition did not appeal to the Powells because it would have taken a mushroom-shaped piece out of one end of their tract of land. They offered to sell their whole farm, but this in turn did not appeal to the state. With this deadlock, there were rumors of condemnation proceedings which precipitated the removal of the mound.
Work was started on the north side of the mound with a large steam shovel, which was hidden from the view of the highway by the large size of the mound. It was eight days before the public was aware that the mound was being taken down. At this time the Powells gave permission for a scientific man to watch the proceedings, and do what excavating he could as long as he did not interfere with the contractor.
This work was under the supervision of the Archaeological Department of the University of Illinois, but did not get underway until the razing had been in progress for a total of 16 days. [Titterington 1938: 13-14]
A. R. Kelly, then of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, observed the mound’s destruction. In February, 1931, Thorne Deuel, of the University of Chicago and representing the University of Illinois, conducted excavations into the remaining base of the Powell Mound, or about 5 feet (1.5 meters) of the original mound. Kelly observed:
Notes and photographs taken on the profile through the long axis of the large Powell mound by Dr. L. E. Worktnan of the State Geological Survey during the course of mound removal by steam shovel in 1930, indicate that the mound was constructed in two stages, and consisted of a top layer of mound earth about 1S20 feet in height, brought to an apex in a hogback ridge running along the greater axis of the mound, and underlying an original mound core which is approximately 27 feet high. The older mound was of the rectangular, flattopped variety familiar in the Cahokia area. No burials or burial furniture were found in the basal mound structure, and the pot sherds and artifacts contained there in were evidently chance inclusions made while the mound builders were obtaining the baskets of mound earth from adjacent camp and village sites.
Later a second mound was built over the original flat-topped structure, but first the mound builders made two unique burial plots on the surface of the basal mound. The first of these burials plots was destroyed by steam shovel: The second was hand trowelled by a member of the University staff and adequate notes were taken. The long bones and skulls of several secondary interments had been placed between alternating sheaths of cedar bark with a blanket or shell covering the bones. A thin cornhusk or grass mattinghad covered the whole burial plot, approximately 18-20 feet in diameter. Two wooden spools covered with sheet copper, interpreted as ear pendants, fell from the burial level during excavation… Other burials found on the slopes of the mound were without burial furniture. No material of cultural significance was found in the upper 20 feet of the Powell Mound. [Kelly 1933: 101]
The materials excavated by Thorne Deuel are stored at the Illinois State Museum. Kelly briefly noted these materials:
Excavations made in February 1931, provided information as to the structure of the seven feet of mound material left at the base of the large mound destroyed by steam shovel. Beneath the mound were extensive village site remains, pot sherds, stone and bone artifacts, and kitchen refuse. The pottery in the underlying camp site was of the same or related type as that accidentally included in the earth used in the mound construction. [Kelly 1933: 101]
An analysis of the materials from Thorne Deuel’s excavations at the Powell Mound, including sherds, artifacts, and Deuel’s notes, was made by Steven Ahler and Peter DePuydt 1986. Ahler and DePuydt compiled an excavation profile of the north wall of the east-west trench excavated by Deuel. The mound section showed three units of cultural activity. There was a premound occupation of the area with ceramics predominately related to the Fairmount phase. A small mound or mound core appeared in the profile; and a later mound fill seems to have been added over the entire mound. The small mound or mound core appears to have been close to 20 feet (6.1 meters) in height. Ahler and Depuydt’s analysis of the sherds from the mound fill suggests a Stirling phase association for these activities. Considerable stone chipping debris was found in the premound deposits.
Titterington talked to some who were present when razing of the mound commenced, before A. R. Kelly started his work, and he gives a much more detailed description of the findings, stratigraphy, and construction of the mound. Instead of quoting extensively from this description, I refer the reader to Titterington’s 1938 publication, pages 14 and 15.
In the early 1960s the remaining portion of the Powell Mound was threatened by construction of a large discount store. The University of Illinois Archaeological Field School, under the direction of Charles Bareis, excavated into the base of the decimated Powell Mound, in the remnants of smaller mounds, and nearby areas.
The razing of the Powell Mound in the 1930s and construction of the Gem Store in the 1960s nearly completed Powell Mound’s destruction. Charles Bareis (personal communication) states:
The area of the Powell Mound (No.86) is not totally destroyed. Two or three feet of the mound base remains north of the Venture Store and the parking lot behind the store. In some areas the mound was stripped so low by work for the original Gem International, Inc. Store and parking lot area that the original pre-mound surface has been exposed… Perhaps the northern one third or… one half of the bottom two feet of the mound is still there.
Patrick indicated that Mound 85 was oval in outline with an orientation of the long axis about east-northeast to west-southwest. Using the scale on the Patrick map gives about 225 feet (68.6 meters) for the length and about 100 feet (30.5 meters) for the width. There is no indication of height for this mound.
Other early maps also show a mound in this location. The McAdams (1882) Map shows an outline and orientation very similar to the Patrick Map. The Cyrus Thomas map of 1894 shows Mound 85 with an oval outline but an east-west orientation. Both McAdams and Thomas indicate the height was about 10 feet (3.05 meters). The Peterson-McAdams Map of 1906 shows only three mounds in the Powell group. The northernmost mound, which may be Mound 85, is assigned a height of only 5 feet (1.5 meters). This mound does not appear on Moorehead’s maps until 1929. However, he does not give any indication of its dimensions. It is represented as slightly ovoid. The USGS 1931 compilation map has Mound 85 shown clearly by two contour lines. This suggests that in the late 1920s Mound 85 was at least 10 feet (3.05 meters) high. The orientation at that time was northeast to southwest. The difference between the earlier heights and orientations and the later ones may be due to cultivation of the area.
No excavations are reported for this mound. The data presented by Titterington (1938: 15) as coming from Mound 85 are actually from Mound 84. Bareis states: “The last attention paid to any of the… [Powell Mound Group] occurred in 1960 when a building stage of Mound 85 was exposed by heavy equipment in conjunction with the construction of Federal Aid Interstate Highway 70” (Bareis 1960: 15).
The location of Mound 85 was determined by plotting coordinates derived from the Patrick Map on the 1966 UWM Map. A slight rise in elevation is all that can be seen today. This is the small remnant of this once massive mound.
In summary, Mound 85 was a large mound approximately 70 by 30 meters (250 by 98 feet) and over 3 meters (9.8 feet) in height at the western limits of the Cahokia site on the banks of Cahokia Creek. It had an oval base with the long axis oriented several degrees off an east-west line. It was plowed down over the period from the 1870s to the mid 1900s. It was finally destroyed in 1960 during construction of Interstate 70. Mound 85 was probably a ridged mound rather than a platform.
As noted previously, Moorehead erroneously equated Patrick’s Mound 46 with the Powell Mound at the western end of the site. On his map Moorehead shows two mounds, which he numbered 84 and 85, in the vicinity of what he thought was the Powell Mound; Mound 84 is south of Powell Mound, Mound 85 is to the north. The Patrick Map of this section of the site, however, shows two mounds south of the Powell Mound, another mound to the southwest, and a relatively large mound to the north. It is my interpretation that Moore head’s Mound 84 refers to the mounds between the Powell Mound and the mound due south, which is Mound 87 on the UWM Map. In Moorehead’s 1923 report he apparently used the number 84 for the mound that he later numbered 79 and called Mackie Mound. There is further confusion in the numbering, in that Titterington refers to excavations in the Powell Mound vicinity as follows:
“Mound 85, which was excavated by the University of Illinois in the summer of 1931… Lay just a very short distance south of the Powell Mound” (Titterington 1938: 15).
It seems clear that he is referring to what Moorehead had numbered 84 and not 85, which was to the north of the Powell Mound. The UWM Map adheres to Moorehead’s number for this mound, and I assume it is the larger of the two mounds south of Powell shown on the Patrick Map.
An arrangement of the mounds in this vicinity, very similar to that shown by Patrick, is noted on the early maps of the area. McAdams in 1882 shows Mound 84 with a height of 5 feet (1.5 meters); Thomas (1894), 10 feet (3.05 meters), and Peterson-McAdams in 1906,8 feet (2.4 meters). The McAdams Map differs more from the Patrick Map than the others, and it may be that the height he gives is for the smaller Mound 87 just to the south. In that case, his height agrees with the other maps of the area.
Mound 84 was destroyed in the 1930s at the same time as the Powell Mound (Mound 86). There were several efforts to salvage data from these mounds, and though most of the work was concentrated on the Powell Mound, excavations were made into other ones as well. Mound 84 was excavated in the summer of 1931 by a crew from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana under the general supervision of A. R. Kelly and the direct supervision of Gene Stirling. Titterington reported that a burial with beads associated with it was found (Titterington 1938: Figure 35, J and K). Pottery was found in the mound fill, but of particular significance was a large refuse pit that contained materials stylistically different from that in the mound fill above. This presented for the first time some details of stratigraphy at Cahokia.
On the basis of excavations in Mound 84, a dichotomy was drawn between the earlier Old Village Culture and the later Beanpot, or Trappist, Culture. This two-period division of Cahokia archaeology was elaborated by James B. Grifffin in his important paper published in 1949 (Griffin 1949). This basic chronology persisted for many years, but was finally revised in 1971 and 1973 (Fowler and Hall 1975).
The mound assigned the number 85 by Moorehead lies to the north of the Powell Mound (86). Charles Bareis describes the relationships of the mounds in this group as follows:
According to that portion of the J.J.R. Patrick map… which applies to the western portion of the Cahokia site, the Powell Mound group originally consisted of five mounds… The arrangement of this complex included one mound located to the southwest , two located to the south… 84 and 87], and one situated to the north … of the Powell Mound …, the major earthwork of the group. [Bareis 1964: 5]
Moorehead shows two small mounds just west of the Harding or Rattlesnake Mound (Mound 66) that he numbers 82 and 83. These are visible in the contours today only as slightly higher elevations. Moorehead conducted excavations in these mounds, which he describes as follows:
a single north-south trench was cut through both and across the narrow neck of low land lying between them. This trench was approximately four feet wide, and was sunk to the yellowish water-bearing gumbo below the mounds, with a maximum depth of five and one-half feet at the apices of the mounds and slightly more than two feet through the strip of ground between them. Midway between them, however, the trench was put down to a depth of four feet in order to examine any changes in formation that might appear, but the yellowish gumbo persisted and water prohibited deeper work. The upper twelve inches of both mounds was a loose, dark, and very sandy loam in which, on the north mound [Mound 83], three very small fragments of pottery were found. Under this, heavy black gumbo prevailed, changing in color as greater depths were reached and blending gradually into the yellowish and extremely wet formation already mentioned. No evidences of stratification or disturbed earth were found. Two small sherds and a half a dozen unworked flint spalls were picked up on the northeast slope of the south mound [Mound 83], but no remains whatever were found in the trench. Prior to the trenching, both mounds were thoroughly tested with thirty inch steel probes. [Moorehead 1929: 84-85]
Recent aerial photographs suggest that Mound 66 is completely surrounded by low, small mounds such as 82 and 83. They show up only as white spots on the aerial photographs, although their intensity on some photographs is similar to Mounds 82 and 83.