Mound 84

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 [88], two located to the south… 84 and 87], and one situated to the north [85]… of the Powell Mound [86]…, the major earthwork of the group. [Bareis 1964: 5]