Exciting Things Going on at Cahokia Mounds!

Despite our closure, the team at Cahokia Mounds is still hard at work!

Right now, we’re preparing for our annual City of the Sun 5k Trail Run, which will take place on November 6. This run will take you all throughout the grounds: down trails, between the mounds, across the fields, and more! The run will take place rain or shine (except in case of lightning), so make sure to wear good shoes. It could get muddy.

Also, August is our annual Membership drive, so tell all your friends! Be sure to stay tuned to see the exclusive gift for new members.

Join us for the Summer Solstice Sunrise Observance

At 5:20 am on Sunday, June 19, join us at Woodhenge for this year’s Summer Solstice Sunrise Observance. Learn about this ancient solar calendar and its role in the relationship between the sun and the Cahokians, the people of the City of the Sun. Commemorative shirts will be available for purchase. No ceremonies will take place.

Help support Cahokia Mounds during the Renovation Fund Drive!

During the closure, the team at Cahokia Mounds is asking for your help in continuing our mission to preserve and interpret Cahokia Mounds. We have partnered with Gateway Shirts to bring you exclusive commemorative tees, only available for a limited time. The shirts are $20 and come in grey, neon yellow/green, orange, and pink.

You can find these shirts here: stores.gatewayshirts.com/cmoundsreno

The Nature/Culture Hike is almost here!

At 9am this Saturday, June 11, join Dr. Julie Zimmermann at the Monks Mound parking lot for our Nature/Culture Hike. Experience the flora and fauna that shaped Cahokian culture on this 2 hour hike through some of our lesser known trails. It’s supposed to rain on Friday, so make sure you prepare for wet conditions on the trail. Sturdy shoes and water are a must, but bug spray, sun screen, and snacks are recommended. Just make sure all trash makes its way to a receptacle.

Climbing the mounds causes severe erosional problems and is strictly prohibited.

Hiring for 5 Seasonal Positions

We are currently taking applications for 5 temporary positions for grounds/building maintenance.  Positions are full time but 6 months in duration.  This is a good way to gain park/building maintenance experience and add to your resume.  To apply contact Lori at 618-346-5164, or Lori.Belknap@Illnois.gov.   The deadline to apply is May 19.   Must be 17 to apply and have a valid DL.

Nature/Culture Hike

Join Dr. Julie Zimmermann for the Cahokia Mounds Nature/Culture Hike on June 11. You’ll learn about native plants and animals and how the Mississippian culture interacted with them and the environment. 

This is a 2-hour hike through some of the less commonly traveled trails, so make sure to wear appropriate clothing, sturdy shoes suitable for hiking, and to bring water. Sunscreen, bug spray, and snacks are advised, though make sure any refuse makes its way back to our trash cans at the Interpretive Center. It is imperative that no one climb the mounds, as unauthorized foot trails on the sides of mounds are causing sever erosional problems on these ancient monuments.

The event is expected to take from 9-12:30. Please meet by the Monks Mound information sign.

Cahokia Mounds Indian Market Days are Almost Here

Come to the Gateway Convention Center to visit our Indian Market Days!

On Friday, April 29 from 11-5 and Saturday and Sunday April 30-May 1 from 9-5, come visit over 30 Native American artists and peruse their handmade wares. From baskets to pottery to jewelry and more, these artists come from all over the country to bring their one-of-a-kind works to you.

Because of the mechanical project underway at the Interpretive Center, this year’s market will take place at the Gateway Convention Center on 1 Gateway Drive in Collinsville, IL. The Convention Center is not far from Cahokia Mounds and there will be plenty of parking in the front and back of the building.

We hope to see you there!

Walking Tours of Monks Mound Coming Soon

During our renovation period at Cahokia Mounds, we will begin offering guided tours by appointment only on Wednesday April 20. To schedule a tour, call 618-346-5160. These tours will begin at the Monks Mound parking lot and will include an informational talk followed by a tour of Monks Mound and the surrounding area. These will be about 45 minutes and will be weather-dependent. Tours will be daily from Wednesday – Sunday at 1:00 pm. You must schedule an appointment, if there are no appointments scheduled, a tour guide will not be at the designated area. We will add more tour times and locations June 1. Thank you for your continued support during this transitional time!

Online Virtual Auction for CMMS and PARC

Interested in supporting the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society and the Powell Archaeological Research Center? Consider visiting our virtual auction at BiddingOwl. From books to paintings to jewelry to gift certificates, your bid will help CMMS and PARC continue our work. Your support is doubly helpful during the site closure.


Visit the auction here: https://www.biddingowl.com/CahokiaMounds

Our very own Mr. Mounds has published a new book about the Civil War




            William Iseminger has written a book, just published and available from Amazon.com, From McLean to Mobile: A History of the 94th Illinois Infantry Regiment Volunteers, 1862-1865, “The McLean Regiment.”  

            His book follows the Regiment from their commissioning in Bloomington, Illinois, in August 1862, through their three years of service in the Union Army. They began training and skirmishing in Missouri, participated in the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, conflicts in Louisiana, garrison duty in Brownsville, Texas, and finally the sieges and battles of Fort Morgan and Spanish Fort in Mobile Bay, Alabama. They mustered out of service in Galveston, Texas, and returned home to McLean County, Illinois, in August 1865.

            Iseminger’s research for the book began many years ago when he transcribed the letters and diaries of two of his great-grandfathers who were in the Regiment, Tubal Wile Iseminger of Heyworth and Harrison H. Clark of Randolph Station. Over the years, he located 8 more diaries and 257 letters from 22 additional soldiers in the 94th, as well as 2 oral histories by soldiers, and other sources. Using all of these, he has written a day-by-day account of the Regiment’s journey, using the diary entries to create a daily narrative of their activities, battles and encounters, travels, health, the weather, and their thoughts and observations about the people and places they saw. The narrative is enhanced by inserting the transcriptions of their letters on the days they were written, providing more details about their experiences.

            Rather than being a detailed military history of the unit, the book is more of a personalized history of the Regiment, from their own views and mostly in their own words. The book is a 300-page 8.5×11” softcover with over 100 full-color and black-and-white illustrations, photos, and maps, and includes a roster of all the soldiers in the Regiment.

Central Plains Maize Farming and the Cahokian Diaspora

Saturday, March 5, 2022
1pm CST

Presented by Prof. Douglas Bramforth
University of Colorado

Archaeology wonders at great length about how people invented farming but often takes the subsequent spread of farming more or less for granted.  Globally, we know that farming spread in many ways.  Sometimes farmers migrated into hunter-gatherer land and took it; other times they traded and married with hunter-gatherers over longer periods before farming became dominant.  In every case, though, the transformation from hunting and gathering happened knowledgably, involving groups who must have interacted, eaten each other’s foods, and spoken together.  This talk explores this problem on the central Great Plains, where evidence for the earliest (12th century) maize farmers knew the great Mississippian center of Cahokia.  The first pulse of maize farming in eastern Kansas and adjacent areas shows a mix of Cahokian and indigenous architecture and material culture; people had to have moved back and forth.  These earliest groups also shifted from collective to individual burial, suggesting significant changes in the way people symbolized their community.  Over a century, though, maize farming spread more widely without the trappings of Mississippian society, as other Midwestern agriculturalists spread into the region.

Zoom Details
The waiting room opens at 12:45pm CST, and the live lecture will begin at 1:00pm CST.

Click here to join the meeting. Or, join through Zoom with the following login:

Meeting ID: 361 501 0853
Password: Brilliant

If you do not already have Zoom installed on your computer, you will be prompted to do so.

Site Renovations Closure

The Interpretive Center will be closed for major renovations beginning March 1, 2022.

The project will begin with replacing the roof of the Interpretive Center followed by the HVAC, fire, security, and lighting systems. A reopen date has not yet been set.

We are anticipating a closure of one year or more. The Society will continue operations of fundraising and other support programs during the closure. We plan to offer outdoor tours when the weather is conducive. More information about opportunities and programming will be found on our website, on social media, or by calling the Interpretive Center.

Virtual Auction is on its Way!

From March 25 to April 10, the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society and the Powell Archaeological Research Center will be holding a virtual auction. This fundraiser will take place via BiddingOwl. Follow us for more details as they come out.

February 20 Winter Lecture Cancelled

The Winter Lecture on February 20, 2022 has been cancelled

Due to recent changes in pandemic restrictions, the in-person lecture scheduled for February 20 is cancelled.  Jacob Holland-Lulewicz, PhD will be conducting a walking tour of the west flank of Monks Mound (the topic of his research) once the weather permits.   More information on this unique opportunity will be in the Spring edition of the Cahokian as well as on social media outlets and our website.

Winter Lecture by Dr. Julie Zimmerman, “Storytelling in the Creation of Cahokia”

Join Julie Zimmermann, PhD, SIUE for her Webinar titled, “Storytelling in the Creation of Cahokia.”   Dr. Zimmermann will discuss what we know about storytelling in Native American Societies, and about storytelling at Cahokia in particular.  She suggests that storytelling was the most important ritual conducted at Cahokia, and it was the most important ritual used to spread Cahokian ideology.  This will be a 45 min. free ONLINE Webinar followed by a 15 minute question and answer period.  To Register:




Cahokia Mounds Renovation Site Closure

The Interpretive Center at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site will be closed to the public beginning March 1 to facilitate $5 million in capital improvement projects at the site. The projects, which will be managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board, are funded through Gov. JB Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the first in nearly a decade.

The work is estimated to last at least 12 months. During the closure, the driveway leading into the site will be closed and no public access will be available to the main parking lot and surrounding area. The Monks Mound parking lot and trails north of Collinsville Road will remain open. Walking tours of the site may resume when weather allows in the spring while work on the Interpretive Center project is underway.

“The $5 million capital improvement project at Cahokia Mounds will include replacement of the existing roof, HVAC, lighting, fire suppression and security systems within the Interpretive Center,” said Cahokia Mounds Site Superintendent Lori Belknap. “The improvements will update and replace some systems and components that date to the construction of the Interpretive Center in 1988. When the Interpretive Center reopens, visitors will see many improvements including restoration of our theatre, along with upgrades and improvements to gallery elements, enhancing visitor experiences.”

The Cahokia Mounds Museum Society plans to host events outside of the Interpretive Center during the closure.

Beginner’s Flintknapping Workshop with Larry Kinsella

On Saturday, February 19 from 12 to 4 pm, learn the basics of flintknapping and stone tools.

Participants must be age 15 or above.

All tools and supplies are provided.

Wear long pants.

Payment of $30 can be made to the instructor at the beginning of class.

Masks must be worn when entering the Cahokia Mounds Interpretive Center. If pandemic restrictions change, students will be notified.

To register call 618-346-5160.

Site Technician Job Available

Are you interested in maintaining the building and grounds of a World Heritage Site?  Cahokia Mounds is hiring a Site Technician.  The posting can be found on Illinois.jobs2web.com and searching for posting #12-35-10275. All information needed to apply including duties and requirements can be found at that posting on the State website.  This is a PERMANENT and FULL-TIME SALARIED position.  The work schedule is Wednesday – Sunday 9-5.
This posting will close on 12/28/2021.
Call Lori at 618-346-5161 with further questions.  Please do not send applications via Facebook or email.  There are explicit application processes which can be found in the official posting.

Winter Lectures Coming Soon!

We’ve got two fascinating Winter Lectures lined up for 2022. Both will take place in the Interpretive Center’s Iseminger Auditorium. Our featured lecturers are Julie Zimmermann, PhD, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Dr. Jacob Holland-Lulewicz, PhD, Washington University St. Louis. Be sure to check out each lecture to learn about the most current research into Cahokia Mounds. 

The first installment of this year’s Winter Lecture series is by Dr. Julie Zimmerman. This lecture will take place January 16 at 2 pm in the Iseminger Auditorium. Dr. Zimmerman discusses Cahokia as a state focused on storytelling. The abstract of Dr. Zimmerman’s lecture, “Storytelling in the Creation of Cahokia,” follows.

Dr. Zimmerman states, “I have argued that Cahokia might best be understood as the capital of a Native American theater state, which drew people to it and spread its influence by attracting followers through theatrical rituals. In current research I argue that storytelling was primary among those rituals. All humans define and create the perceived world through language and stories, and storytelling is a central ritual in oral societies, the foundation for all other rituals. Traditional Native American beliefs indicate that words form the world; contemporary Native American viewpoints also suggest that stories are essential and create the world. Cahokian stories were remembered and commemorated with Braden-style artworks made at and disseminated from Cahokia. Primary among these stories was that of a great hero who wore human head earrings. Other stories were told at Cahokia, but the stories of heroes are those most often depicted in Braden-style artworks found far from Cahokia. The dissemination of hero stories supports the notion that Cahokia was a state; heroic storytelling was central to the growth of the state. Cahokians created their world through stories, but it was through hero stories that they grew their authority in far-flung societies.”

This year’s second lecture, “The Western Flank Survey: From Mississippian to Modern-Day in the Shadow of Monks Mound,” will be given by Dr. Jacob Holland-Lulewicz on February 20 at 2 pm in the Iseminger Auditorium. Read the abstract below.

Dr. Holland-Lulewicz explains, “In this talk, I summarize recent results from the Western Flank Survey, an extensive shovel-test survey of the area immediately abutting the western flank of Monks Mound. Though small in geographic extent, this seemingly insignificant slice of Cahokia has played host to over 1,000 years of human activity: from the moundbuilding and landscape modifications of the original Indigenous occupants, to French missionaries and monks, nineteenth century farmers, and most recently a century’s worth of heritage-making and tourism. Using recent survey results, carefully narrated artifact biographies, and a wealth of historical maps and documents, we will explore a millennium of regional history as reflected, assembled, and staged in the western shadow of the great Monks Mound.”

These lectures are the result of meticulous archaeological research and brought to you by the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society. If you wish to ensure that the society is able to continue helping research the city of Cahokia, please consider  joining as a member or donating to our Annual Fund Drive. If you chose to give to the Annual Fund Drive, a one time donation of $125 or a sustained monthly donation of $10  will get you one of our yearly, one of a kind AFD shirt.

The funds generated by these memberships and donations go to research like these lectures, as well as educational outreach, cultural events,  new programs like our “Back to the City of the Sun” augmented reality project, and land acquisition efforts. Please consider us during this giving season.     

The Annual Fund Drive is Here!

The Annual Fund Drive is in full swing. You can help CMMS continue our efforts at the site with your donation. These funds stay here at Cahokia Mounds and are used to support the entire Calendar of Events, field research, and land acquisition. The Site recieves no funds at the State level to implement any of the outreach or cultural events, marketing, advertising, or research that takes place at Cahokia Mounds. These activities are funded solely by membership dues, donations, grants, and Gift Shop sales.

We know that many organizations need financial help, but we ask that you consider making a donation to the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society Annual Fund Drive this giving season. Your generous giving makes a world of difference in helping Cahokia Mounds continue to provide great programming and research for all our visitors and the community at large.

You can contribute by calling 618-344-7316 or by emaling museumsociety@cahokiamounds.org or giftshop@cahokiamounds.org. Help us preserve the archaeological data at this World Heritage Site and share the story of this ancient city with the world.

For a one time donation of $125 or a monthly donation of $10 or more, you will receive one of this year’s Annual Fund Drive shirts.

The Annual Fund Drive will continue until January 31st.