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Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos
Introduction > Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos

Seen from high above, the Cahokia landscape had mythic dimensions. Stretching for six square miles, more than one hundred mounds rose from the earth with monumental presence. At the center lay four vast plazas, honoring the cardinal directions, to the north, east, south, and west. At their crossing the great Monks Mound towered more than a hundred feet in the air. At other points woodhenges (large circular areas marked off by enormous red cedar posts) enclosed large circular plazas or ceremonial areas.

An artist's conception of the Cahokia mound complex.

A whole city aligned with the cosmos! The idea reverberates with expressive power. The stars in the heavens shine radiantly; they are constant in both position and movement; they appear with reassuring regularity generation after generation. The North Star orients a hunter in the forest so he can find his way home. The moon lights his way in the darkness. The Pleiades promise a frost-free growing season. Our orbit around the sun brings four seasons, from spring to winter, echoing the life cycle of a person from youth to old age, with the promise of continuity in new generations. 

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Figure #1 Laborers at Cahokia  »

Learn more about Cahokia in Bringing the Heavens to Earth.

For more information, visit Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.

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