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.
#1 Laborers at Cahokia »
O R E
more about Cahokia
in Bringing the Heavens to Earth.