Cahokia Mounds State Park

These enigmatic mounds just a few minutes outside St. Louis  – one of them larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza – invariably leave visitors pondering the ancient Native culture that came, grew and eventually flourished over centuries of occupation, calling the six-square-mile plains “city” home for nearly a thousand years before one day vanishing – some say without a trace, though it is likely the departure was gradual, as a starving and weakened people abandoned the once-bustling *world center* of Cahokia for better prospects, however slim. Many theories exist in support of distinct possibilities, including destructive weather patterns that eventually destroyed food sources and decimated the population; documentaries  and discoveries abound that deliver evidence the tribe’s very existence was predicated on a reliance on barbaric ceremonial practice believed to ensure the success of those all-important crops and the futures of the people: the satisfying of blood thirsty corn deities with the regular human sacrifice of young females-possibly captives,  but most probably terrified prisoners selected from the tribe, itself. It is said that perhaps the vanishing of the people from the great City could be explained by the creation of a new, nomadic tribe, who continued with the same crop insurance rituals their forefathers practiced into the mid 19th century when they were forced onto a reservation and the atrocious practice of human sacrifice was outlawed. Whatever you choose to believe when you visit, the common denominator in every guest experience is the awe-inspiring presence of mounds of varying sizes in three distinct shapes created by native workers hauling countless baskets of earth from the surrounding countryside, leaving large depressions in the ground around them called “borrow pits.” Come, see the mounds and other authentic remains of this most sophisticated ancient civilation North of Mexico, and be forever changed by the images you carry away.

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