Membership Drive Going on NOW

From now until the end of July you have a great opportunity to join the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society and support our preservation efforts as well as enter to win some fantastic prizes from Cahokia Mounds!   The rules are simple, each NEW membership and each UPGRADE to the next level from an existing membership will earn one entry into a drawing.  August 1st we will draw the winners of your choice of these great prizes!

  • One seat on the member-only Ancient Ohio Excursion (all expenses paid – value $257).  This bus trip includes The Great Serpent Mound, Ohio,  the live outdoor drama TECUMSEH!, Hopewell Culture National Park, and Seip Earthworks, Ohio.  This trip takes place September 2-3, and hotel accommodations are included.
  • Custom-framed, limited-edition, signed print by artist Herb Roe, Falcon Dancer Priest (value $227).
  • $50 Gift Certificate for the Museum Gift Shop
  • Cahokia Mounds Coffee Mug
  • Cahokia Mounds Art Show T-Shirt

Join us in our mission of preserving and interpreting Cahokia Mounds.  Your dues support; research, land acquisition, educational events and outreach efforts at Cahokia Mounds!  For more information call 618-344-7316.

You can join at

Eclipse Lecture

On August 13, Cahokia Mounds will offer a special lecture at 2 pm, by Russell Weisman, Senior Historic Preservation Specialist, MoDOT Environmental and Historic Preservation Section, titled “In the Shadow of the Moon, Solar Eclipses in the Cahokian Sky — AD 800-1300.

On Monday August 21, 2017 millions of Americans from Oregon to South Carolina will have the rare opportunity to witness and experience a total eclipse of the sun.  This presentation will review similar events that occurred in the ancient skies above Cahokia and will consider prehistoric beliefs about solar eclipses and celestial shadows and how they may have influenced Mississippian art, iconography, and religion.  Particular attention will be paid to a pair of sunrise total eclipses that were visible on the eastern horizon above Cahokia in AD 831 and AD 941, and rock art located along the shadow paths of those events that may have been created to commemorate them.

This is a free event and will be held in the Auditorium.  Seating is limited and will be on a first come first served basis.  For more information contact 618-346-5160.

Winter Lecture Series

The 2017 Winter Lecture Series begins January 15 at 2 pm.  The first installment is Geophysical Prospection and Excavation of Middle Woodland Mounds in the Lower Illinois Valley.   Jason King, PhD, Director, Center for American Archeology, Kampsville, Illinois, will present on geophysical surveys and excavation of Middle Woodland mounds.  This presentation will discuss recent insights gained at several mound sites in the valley and their importance for understanding Illinois Valley prehistory.

The second lecture will take place February 26, at 2 pm.   Tamira K. Brennan, PhD, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, American Bottom Field Station Coordinator will present Insights and Updates on Greater Cahokia from Excavations at the East St. Louis Precinct.   This presentation overviews the results of the past five years of analysis and reporting on ISAS’ research at the East St. Louis Mound Complex.

Abstract:  The Interstate 70 approach to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge lies over what was once a Native American mound center second only in size to Cahokia:  East St. Louis.  From 2009-2012 the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) undertook extensive excavations at East St. Louis, revealing a densely occupied village and ceremonial center that spanned the Terminal Late Woodland and Mississippian periods (AD 900-1250).  In total, over 6,000 archaeological pits, structures, monumental posts, and other features were uncovered.  These features and the materials recovered from them tell us about the daily life of the peoples who once inhabited this region, about the social and political structure of their society, and about how East St. Louis, Cahokia, and many other villages large and small together formed one of North America’s first and largest pre-Columbian cities.  This talk overviews the results of the past five years of analysis and reporting on ISAS’ research at the East St. Louis Mound Complex.

On March 19, at 2 pm, G. William Monaghan, PhD Indiana Geological Survey, Indiana University-Bloomington and Jeremy J. Wilson, PhD, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will present Anthropogenic Transformation and Population Processes at Angel Mounds:  The Founding, Flourishment and Final Days of a Mississippian Village. 

Abstract:  Since 2005, archaeological investigations at Angel Mounds, a Mississippian village along the Ohio River in southwest Indiana, have tackled a series of questions related to anthropogenic transformation, the timing of fortification construction, and the use-life for various habitation components of the site.  Collectively this research aims to understand the intensity and trajectory of population-level processes at the site from its founding in the 11th century through abandonment in the early 15th century.  The well-controlled chronology and developmental history for Angel Mounds derived from a decade of excavations and re-analysis of collections shows that the site underwent different developmental phases.  The first occurred AD 1070-1250 with the site serving as an unfortified, ceremonial center with intensive earthwork construction, but few permanent residents.   The second phase included the development of a fortified village and increased residential population after AD 1300.  Meanwhile, the abandonment of Angel Mounds in the early 15th century is attributed to increasing socio-political instability triggered by escalating levels of regional warfare and climatic unpredictability associated with the onset of the Little Ice Age.

New Presentations Added to Conference

The Mississippian Conference, held in the auditorium on July 30 from 8:30 – 4:00, is now full.  There will be 18 presentations and several poster presentations that focus on recent research relating to Mississippian culture or Cahokia Mounds.

Newly added presenters include:

James Brown, Northwestern University, Emeritus, Archaeological Fact and Fiction about the Osage

Duane Esarey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Untangling the Piasa’s Tale: A revision of Payiihsa Symbolism

Russell Weisman, Missouri Department of Transportation, The Redhorn Panel at Picture Cave:  A Solar Eclipse Allegory

Scott Hipskind and Jeremy Wilson, University of Indiana-Purdue University – Indianapolis, The Walsh Site and the Central Illinois River Valley:  A Century of Speculation on Mississippian Occupation Tested by Geophysical Prospection

Bob Dymek and John Kelly, Washington University, On the Source of Basaltic Materials Found in the Cahokia Region

John Kelly, Washington University, Corin Pursell, Washington University, Grant Stauffer, Washington University, and Imma Valese, University of Bologna,  Contextualizing the Ongoing Excavations at Cahokia:  2015-2016