The Birdman Tablet became synonymous with and the symbol for Cahokia Mounds when it was discovered in 1971. You can have your own piece of history in this clay replica made by a local sculptor.
The Cahokia Birdman symbol, which is engraved on a four-inch sandstone tablet, was unearthed in 1971 on the east side of Monks Mound. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal found at the slump shows an approximate date of 1310 AD.
The front of the tablet shows a man wearing a mask with a birdlike beak. He appears to have earspools and feathers attached to his arm or a cape. The back of the small tablet is crosshatched with a pattern which may represent the skin of a snake. All three worlds—the sky world (as represented by the bird), the earth world (as represented by man), and the underworld (as represented by the snakeskin pattern on the back of the tablet)—are symbolically embodied on this one tablet.
Although this form of symbolism was widespread, how this tablet was used or displayed is unknown.
The Birdman Tablet has been adopted as the symbol of Cahokia Mounds and appears on signs, gifts, and publications.