Are there other symbolic messages hidden in the placement
of the mounds and plazas in this eleventh-century city? How was
its plan designed? What kind of social and political organization
was necessary to erect public works of this magnitude? How was
the labor force organized and motivated? What kind of surveying
and engineering methods ensured stability and endurance?
Even today, traces of the four main plazas demonstrate their orientation:
Monks Mound is aligned with the cardinal directions; the North
Plaza is bounded by four mounds on each of the cardinal sides;
the principal mounds in the center are aligned with Monks Mound
and with each other. Seven mounds are lined up north-south in
line with the west edge of Monks Mound. Another eight align with
the east edge. Nine mounds are on an east-west line across the
site and line up with Monks Mound.
As if designed by a landscape architect, each mound has sufficient
space around it to set it off from the others, and the modular
spacing between the major mounds serves to unify them. At the
equinoxes two poles of the reconstructed Woodhenge align with
the rising sun in the east. Solstice posts in the Woodhenge align
at the beginning of summer and winter at sunrise and sunset. Several
of the principal mounds are also on these alignments.
#1: An ordinary day in a sacred city (Michael Hampshire).
O R E
more about Cahokia
in Bringing the Heavens to Earth.