Previously we have discussed many different wonders lying on or below Earth’s surface, and how they came to be. We talked about the possibility of the lost continent of Atlantis that descended to the ocean floor thousands of years ago. Many of you commented upon whether you believed there was truly once such a magnificent place. Some of you answered in the affirmative, others not so much.
Then we conversed about certain places on our planet and whether they are natural or man-made. We talked about Stonehenge, with which most of you are familiar, a series of monumental monoliths standing upright in a circle in seemingly the middle of nowhere in Great Britain. Then we talked about the lesser-known version in America – what was once called ‘Mystery Hill’ - now referred to as America’s Stonehenge in New Hampshire, which is another series of monoliths in a deserted forest. Finally, we spoke of the great Moai, or head shaped monoliths, on Easter Island far off the Coast of Chile. We asked if these designs are manmade how were ancient civilizations able to transport rocks weighing 82 tons(!) with ancient technology
Finally, we discussed other scenic treasures – nature’s beauty – upon all continents of the Earth, as well as man-made but astounding creations such as the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon amongst others. However, as we were reviewing all of the wonder and mystery that surrounds us, it seems that I overlooked (at least) one lesser-known, but very important tribute.
You might not think that anything special lies in Southern Illinois of the United States. It is, after all, in one of the more rural – and flattest - areas of the country located hundreds of miles from even any medium-sized city. However, this place seemingly in the middle of nowhere has been designated as a National Historic Landmark by the United States government, who has untaken it as their duty to protect this land from any development. Further, the International Community as a whole, in the form of UNESCO, chooses locations of extreme importance and labels them as “World Heritage Sites.” The Cahokia Mounds in Southern Illinois is one of the few.
You might be asking why this is. While the Western World was suffering during the Middle Ages, Cahokia was one of the most thriving cities on our planet. In fact, in the 13th century, Cahokia had a larger population than London, one of the largest cities in Europe. Beginning in around 700 A.D. Cahokia grew to become a successful metropolis, with tens of thousands residents living in an area of only about six square miles.
The Cahokians, the residents within, were considered a subtribe of the Illiniwek, a consolidated tribe of many different subtribes. Some were nomadic, and some, like the Cahokians, settled and became an agricultural society. The Cahokians built parallel houses in rows, a plaza, and an irrigation system which at the time was considered a very advanced system of plowing and other forms of agriculture. Beyond building these necessities of a successful society, the Cahokians built these very large mounds purely from what was provided from the Earth. They built 120 total mounds in all, 80 of which remain in the Heritage Site today. They often enlarged these mounds as well as time progressed.
When the Cahokians abandoned their town, for reasons that archaeologists and historians are still attempting to explain as no evidence has been found regarding their departure, these mounds became one of the larger mysteries of Native American civilization. Many scholars consider these mounds to be burial tombs, with some, like what is designated the ‘Monks Mound’ to be larger than others due to the inpidual’s relative importance within the society. However, others have come up with alternative theories, namely that, like the Incans in Nazca, Peru, these mounds were intended to communicate with a higher power. Perhaps we will never know.
What do you think? Join the discussion:
Have you ever been to the Cahokia Mounds, or even heard of them before? If so, what was your impression? Let us know what you think! Please feel free to share your thoughts on our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/7witchescoven.
I look forward to reading your responses.
J. Roslyn Antle, High Priestess
The 7Witches Coven