Cahokia Mounds Featured on the History Channel Website

A new article on the History Channel’s website features Cahokia Mounds along with Chaco Canyon as “Bustling Urban Centers.”


Flip Book Gets an Update

2019 Spring Intern Katie Engelmeyer spent her time here updating the Flip Book “Previous Mound Builders.” It was installed yesterday afternoon. Included in the new book are several sites not in the previous flip book. Stop by and learn about Watson Brake, Poverty Point, Grave Creek, Newark, Albany Mounds, Effigy Mounds, and Toltec Mounds. Congratulations on a job well done!

Thanks to Gary Harmon and Rick Riccio from Riccio Exhibit Services for creating such a beautiful exhibit.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Press Release Regarding Native American Holiday Market Days

Illinois Department of Natural Resources                                JB Pritzker, Governor
One Natural Resources Way                                                       Colleen Callahan, Director
Springfield, Illinois 62702-1271                                         

November 4, 2019

Native American Holiday Market Days at Cahokia Mounds

Dozens of American Indian artists and vendors to sell handmade work Nov. 29-Dec. 1

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – Looking for unique holiday gifts? Need a dose of artistic inspiration? The annual Native American Holiday Market at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site offers both right after Thanksgiving from Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 1.

Thirty-five Native American artists, craftpersons and vendors will be selling an array of goods at the historic site’s interpretive center. Their work includes paintings, drawings, baskets, beadwork, pottery, sculpture, metal work, wood carvings, feather work, flutes, decorated gourds and jewelry of all types. All items are Indian-made and most reflect some aspect of native culture.

The artisans come from a variety of tribal affiliations, including Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, Potawatomi, Cherokee, Arapaho, Meskwaki, Ho-Chunk, Seminole, Oglala Sioux, Omaha, Odawa, Kiowa, Cayuga, Santo Domingo, Oneida and Abenaki.

Crafts and artwork will be available in all price ranges.

The event runs from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 29-Dec. 1). There will be some demonstrations by the artisans. There is no admission fee, but donations of $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for students and $15 for families are suggested.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is located eight miles from downtown St. Louis in Collinsville, Illinois off Interstates 55-70 (Exit 6) and Interstate 255 (Exit 24) on Collinsville Road. The site is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but is open Wednesday through Sunday.

For more information call 618-344-9221 or go to

City of the Sun 5K Canceled

Just a reminder that the City of the Sun race scheduled for tomorrow November 3rd has been canceled. We look forward to seeing you at next years race which has been tentatively scheduled for November 7th!

New Executive Director Joins CMMS

The new Executive Director of the CMMS is here, help welcome Alie Morgan as she leads the Society in its mission of interpretation and preservation of the Site!

Alie began at Cahokia Mounds in February as a Volunteer and worked through the summer as a Seasonal Interpreter. She was previously an Instructional Aide with the Title I Department of the Collinsville School District. She is a graduate of SIU-E.

Photographic Exhibition by Daniel Seurer

A new photographic exhibition Enduring Earthworks of the Western Great Lakes and Beyond, by Daniel Seurer, will be on display at Cahokia Mounds from September 23 through November 18.

The Enduring Earthworks photographic exhibit explores the long history of mound building in the

Western Great Lakes, and the Mississippi River region.  The photographs show the variety of mounds that were built by many different communities and cultures.  Mound ritual and construction also evolved over time so that each set of mounds represents a particular community at a particular point in their history.

This is a free event and will be open during normal business hours in the Temporary Exhibit Hall.

Archaeology Day

Join us for Archaeology Day Saturday August 2 from 10:00 am through 4:00 pm.  Learn about primitive technologies, archaeology, and cultural preservation from experts.  Excavations will be open for viewing and discussion with archaeologists.   This is a free event.

Mississippian Conference

On July 27th at the Illinois State Museum – Dickson Mounds, professionals convene for a day of presentations relating to the Mississippian Culture.  Presentations will begin at 9:00 am and end with the final presentation at 3:50, with breaks throughout the day.  Poster presentations will be on display near the Auditorium entrance.  This event is co-hosted by the Illinois State Museum and Western Illinois University.   For a complete listing of all presentations and abstracts click List of Presentations and Abstracts.

City of the Sun 5K 2018 Make Up Race

The 2018 City of the Sun race was cancelled due to storm activity.  The race is rescheduled for March 24, 9 am.   If you did not pick up your packet in November, you can do so on Friday the 22nd between 9 and 4 (or by special appointment by calling Lori at 618-344-7316).  The building will open at 8 am on Sunday for packet pick up etc. If you do not have the number you picked up in November, check in at the ‘Preregistration table’ and they will give you a new Bib.

NOTE:  Toolen’s Running Start will do the timing.  We will use a pull-tab system.   Please make sure your name, age, and gender are listed on your pull-tab.  If you are WALKING the 1-Mile route, write WALK somewhere on your pull-tab so the timers get you in the correct category.  You must walk the entire time in order to be qualified for one of the place medals.

There will also be a table set up to register for the 2019 race occurring November 3.   You can register at the early bird rate of $25.

We will also have hats available for purchase at $15 on Sunday.

It has been a very wet season and we expect some mud and standing water in the wooded area.  Please be careful of roots that may be hidden by mud or water.


Robert Lewis – Native American Storyteller

As part of the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, now in its 40th year, Robert Lewis will enchant with his storytelling at Cahokia Mounds at 2 pm, on May 4.  Robert is an award-winning Native storyteller, author, and artist of Cherokee, Navajo, and Apache descent.  While researching and gathering stories from elders, storytellers, books, and magazines, Robert struck by the richness and variety of traditional knowledge and humor passed on from generation to generation.  “The traditional stories are a voice for cultural identity of a particular tribe’s lineage and heritage, a vital link to preserving the rich oral traditions and I find myself fortunate to be one of those storytellers retelling this knowledge and humor that has been passed down through time.”

The Storytelling Festival his the largest free storytelling festival in the world and is partnered with the University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program.  For more information in their other storytelling events, visit

This is a free event and seating will be limited.

Guest Symposium: Anthropocene. Archaeology of the Present, by Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany

On March 10, we will be hosting a public symposium by Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany titled:  Anthropocene. Archaeology of the Present.

“The site of the ancient city of Cahokia is a place where different time regimes of settlement, cultivation, ecological transformations and cultural meanings meet.  At this public symposium, archaeologists, artists, and community activists present and discuss the nexus between ancient and current modalities of dwelling that are present in Cahokia and the contextual relationships between humans and their environments in the American Heartland – including on the migrations of species, diets, and land-use changes – and link these to both the current zonings of industrial and social fragmentation and their legacies for the future.”

The symposium takes place within the framework of the project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science , Berlin.  It is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office as part of the initiative #WunderbarTogether  as well as by the Max Planck Society .

Public presentations will begin at 11 am through 1 pm.

11 am “Welcome and brief introduction to the project Mississippi: An Anthropocene River”  by Maria Rilke, Bernd Scherer, Jurgen Renn.

11:15 am “Rethinking Early Agriculture: Setting the stage for the Anthropocene” by Robert Spengler.

“Horses, Donkeys, and the Anthropocene in the Indigenous Mississippi World” by William Taylor.

“Understanding the North American Lost Crops” by Natalie Mueller.

“Eating the Anthropocene” by Lynn Peemoellerr.

“Monsanto Town” by Matthew Fluharty, Jennifer Colten.

“Significant and Insignificant Mounds” by Jennifer Colten, Jesse Vogler.

12:30 pm Open discussion with all speakers and the public led by Jurgen Renn.

This is a free event, no RSVP is required.  It will take place in the auditorium and seating will be limited.

March 3 Lecture CANCELLED

Due to the possibility of more weather on Sunday March 3, the scheduled lecture by Julie Zimmermann, PhD titled, “Hoping for Hopewell but Settling for Mississippian:  SIUE Investigations at the Gehring Site” is cancelled.  It has been rescheduled for March 31, 2 pm.



Winter Lecture Series

The second installment of the 2019 Winter Lecture Series is “The Embedded Nature and Context of Symbols in the Cahokia Cosmogram,”  by John E. Kelly, PhD, Washington University.  This will take place February 10, 2019, 2:00 pm in the Interpretive Center Auditorium.

“Cahokia and other Mississippian towns not only mirror the multi-layered nature of the cosmos, but also provide the cultural context for symbols fundamental to the various institutions and cults and their practices.  This presentation examines the configuration of Cahokia as expressed in the design of its epicenter of Monks Mound surrounded by four plazas and the way this cosmogram accentuates and reinforces various symbolic elements, such as the circle and the square, which are also evident in other more portable media such as copper plates and marine shell gorgets and cups.”

This event is brought you by the Cahokia Mound Museum Society and the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. This is a free event and no preregistration is required.

Book Signing: Gayle J. Fritz on January 20

Gayle Fritz is professor emerita at Washington University in St. Louis, having retired recently after more than three decades of teaching archaeology and ethnobotany. She has worked at archaeological sites ranging in age from the Archaic to the Historic period, and analyzed plant remains from sites as far west and south as Chihuahua, Mexico, and as far east as North Carolina. Her research focuses on plant domestication, agricultural intensification, and changing foodways across eastern North America, including the fertile American Bottom region, home to ancient Cahokia and other Mississippian mound centers.

Gayle J. Fritz, PhD will be at Cahokia Mounds on January 20 at 3:00 pm to sign her new book, now available for purchase, “Feeding Cahokia: Early Agriculture in the North American Heartland.”

From the Alabama Press catalog and Feeding Cahokia book jacket:

“This book presents evidence to demonstrate that the emphasis on corn has created a distorted picture of Cahokia’s agricultural practices. Farming at Cahokia was biologically diverse and, as such, less prone to risk than was maize-dominated agriculture. Gayle J. Fritz shows that the division between the so-called elites and commoners simplifies and misrepresents the statuses of farmers – a workforce consisting of adult women and their daughters who belonged to kin groups crosscutting all levels of the Cahokia social order….


This highly accessible narrative…highlights the biologically diverse agriculture system by focusing on plants, such as erect knotweed, chenopod, and maygrass, which were domesticated in the midcontinent and grown by generations of farms before Cahokia Mounds grew to be the largest Native American population center north of Mexico.  Fritz also looks at traditional farming systems for strategies that would be helpful to modern agriculture, including reviving wild and weedy descendants of these lost crops for re-domestication.  With a wealth of detail on specific sites, traditional foods, artifacts such as famous figurines, and color photos of significant plants, Feeding Cahokia will satisfy both scholars and interested readers.”


The Book Signing will be held in the lobby of the Interpretive Center, immediately following the 2:00 pm Winter Lecture Series presentation.

For more information, call 618-346-5160.


Site Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Cahokia Mounds Museum Society (CMMS) is one the recipients of a Digital Projects for the Humanities grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).  This $100,000 grant will be used to develop a functional prototype of an augmented reality application that will be available for smart phones and other platforms and an educational website, slated to be released in 2020.   Using the application, as visitors look through the lens of their device from the top of the 10-story Monks Mound, GPS tracking will identify hotspots which, when activated, will enable visitors to “see” structures once visible on the pre-Columbian landscape superimposed on the modern landscape.  In addition, an educational website will include video and other content about the ancient site and its associated sites.

We are thankful to Schwartz & Associates Creative, St. Louis, who has worked tirelessly to bring this concept to fruition.   Once the multi-year project is complete, the Site will have cutting-edge technological interpretive tools that will enhance visitor experience by giving them the opportunity to visualize what the ancient site may have looked like.


Due to the weather and the condition of the trails, for the safety of our participants, we have cancelled the 5K this morning.  A make up race will be planned next week.  You can still pick up your packet if you like between 8 and 9 this morning, or all day on Wednesday, November 7.  Thank you for support and understanding!

Original Performance to Celebrate Bicentennial

Sparks will fly in this recreation of a dramatic debate between our Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards and Potawatomi Chief Gomo on Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 pm.   The program will be held in the auditorium at Cahokia Mounds.   Two hundred years ago, as the original thirteen colonies were bursting at the seams, as early pioneers came flooding over the Alleghenies, and the tribes of the east were being pushed to the west, as Illinois was struggling to become a state, there were a series of events that are often left out of our history books.  Yet these events were pivotal in forever shaping our state history and influencing our nation’s relations with Native Americans.  From the War of 1812 to the burning of the French Village of Peoria and the Fort Dearborn Massacre in Chicago, this engaging program will challenge the audience to reconsider what they think they know about Illinois’ story.

Brian “Fox” Ellis is a storyteller, author and historian.  He is of Cherokee descent and strives to give voice to many of the characters left out of our history books.   The performance is part of a state wide tour Retracing Edwards Trace.  It is funded by Humanities Illinois and the Forgotten Illinois Grant.

Site Receives Employee Community Fund of Boeing Grant

We are very happy to announce that the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society has received a generous grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing (ECF of Boeing)  in support of our Native American Culture Series.   This grant will fund a 2-day cultural event by The Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe.  The event will take place October 13 and 14 at Cahokia Mounds.  The troupe will begin at 10 am with storytelling, followed by a Stomp Dance demonstration (including a social dance for visitors to join).  At 1 pm, there will be a Stickball demonstration and social game, followed by Storytelling at 2, Stomp Dance at 3, and Stickball at 4.   The Chickasaw Dance Troupe, traveling to Cahokia Mounds from Ada, Oklahoma, are very happy to share their culture with visitors and welcome questions and participation.   This is a free event.  It is a wonderful interactive community outreach event to learn about Native American traditions and the Chickasaw culture.

Cahokia Mounds is very grateful for the support from ECF of Boeing of our Native American Culture Series.   The ECF of Boeing has chapters nationwide with employees donating to this fund to make a difference in their communities.   For over 60 years,  the ECF has changed lives across the country.  Over 4,000 nonprofits count on ECF for funding each year.

For more information on the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Event, contact 618-346-5160, or 618-344-7316.

The Young Spirit Dancers Dance Troupe

Brought to you by the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition, this dance troupe will perform at Cahokia Mounds on August 8.  There will be two 30-minute performances; at 1 pm and at 3 pm.   This group was the first Native American youth group to perform at the Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonial held at Gallup, NM in 2013.  Since that time, they have had many notable performances including being the first Native American group to perform at Disneyland in 2014 and the National Museum of the American Indian in 2017.   There is no registration or fee to attend this event.

City of the Sun 5k Trail Run

The annual City of the Sun 5K Trail Run will take place on November 4, 2018.   This is a unique opportunity to run a 5K Trail course on a US National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site.   The course begins and ends at the Interpretive Center but traverses some of the cultural and natural areas of the site.  You’ll pass through grassy fields, around mounds, through the wooded areas, and through The Grand Plaza.   Custom sun medals will only be awarded to the top 3 finishers in each category and to the overall winner in women’s and men’s category.  You will receive a souvenir T-Shirt with your registration.   Divisions are 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 and up.  Timing provided by Toolen’s Running Start, Shiloh, IL.  We also hold a 1 Mile walk on the sidewalk around the Twin Mounds.  We offer custom medals to the top 5 walkers.  You can register at  There is a cap on this race and it has been reached for the last two years, so please register early.  For more information contact Lori at or call 618-344-7316.