In all of North America, four archaeological complexes stand out as the greatest achievements in the ancient history of our continent – Poverty Point (Louisiana), Ohio Hopewell (Ohio), Chaco Canyon (New Mexico) and Cahokia Mounds.
Currently, Cahokia Mounds, located near Collinsville and the only mounds that represent the Mississippian culture holistically and uniquely, is a State Historic Site run by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. It is also a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. Hidden gems in our own backyard, the mounds are a significant and unsurpassed example of its time period.
The Mounds – America's First Cities' Project Team, led by representatives from HeartLands Conservancy, have spent the last 18 months studying the Mississippian culture and occupation and have produced a feasibility study with all findings and recommendations. The intent with the study is elevating the Mounds and associated Mound Centers to a National Designation within the National Park Service.
Through engagement with the public-at-large communities, civic leaders, and the American Indian Tribes/Nations, the team determined that a National Designation is feasible and that Cahokia meets all NPS criteria. The other mounds sites where reviewed and it was concluded that they, too, are nationally significant if they are thematically connected to Cahokia – demonstrating the larger culture and advancements. They are stronger as a whole. They all can stand as a non-contiguous National Historical Park together.
The hope is a National Designation will give influence to preserve what remains of the mounds in our region. But, next steps such as further outreach and collaboration, publicity and expanded outreach are vital to reaching our goal.
You, too, can be part of The Mounds' Team by taking action today. Learn more about the work being done. Join us as we ensure that the Cahokia Mounds and surrounding mounds sites are protected. Your support is needed so that when the initiative is complete, the story of our ancient heartlands will continue to be shared as one of the most significant pieces of history the world has to offer.