Near Collinsville in Madison County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas
It was not built all at once. But in a series of stages, mostly from AD 950-1200. Core-drillings through the mound suggest eight to 14 building stages. Excavations at various locations found indications of a stairway on the South Ramp; several buildings and a small mound rebuilt eight times on the First Terrace; a large temple structure on the Fourth Terrace; evidence of a French chapel and historic Indian occupation (1730s) on the First Terrace; and the discovery of the Birdman Tablets on the east side of the mound.
Recent tests confirm that the First Terrace was a late addition to the front of the mound and drilling deep beneath the Second Terrance encountered a large mass of stone cobbles whose function is unknown at this time. The Mississippians were also doing soil engineering, selecting and placing specific soils for strength or drainage.
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The “Birdman Tablet” was discovered in excavations on the east side of Monks Mound in 1971. The front side of this engraved sandstone tablet depicts a man in a “falcon dancer” outfit, with a beaked mask and wing; the reverse side has a cross-hatched diamond patterns representing a snake.
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The Fourth Terrace building was probably the residence of the leader and the religious/political focus of this urban center. A fenced courtyard with a huge post in the center, enclosed the fourth terrace.
In the 1830s Amos Hill built his farm complex on the Third Terrace and removed a small mound on the southeast corner. He is buried on the northwest corner of the Fourth Terrace.
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The paramount chief and his attendants greet the rising sun from the top of Monks Mound. Among some later Mississippian peoples in the Southeast the chief was believed to be related to the Sun and that may have been true at Cahokia as well.
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Excavation map of the last temple on the fourth terrace—with
- The base covers an area of over 14 acres.
- It is 100 feet at the highest point.
- It contains 22 million cubic feet of earth.
- The building on the top terrace measured 48 feet by 104 feet and possibly 50 feet high.
- Construction of the mound began around AD 950, and it was enlarged several times until AD 1250.
Erected by Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
Location. 38° 39.545′ N, 90° 3.666′ W. Marker is near Collinsville, Illinois, in Madison County. Marker can be reached from Collins Ln 0.1 miles north of Collinsville Rd. Collins Lane ends in a parking lot for Monks Mound. Marker is on the trail from the parking lot to Monks Mound. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Collinsville IL 62234, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cahokia (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stockade (approx. 0.2 miles away); Grand Plaza (approx. ¼ mile away); Cahokia Mounds (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mound 72 (approx. 0.6 miles away); Woodhenge (approx. 0.7 miles away); Collinsville (approx. 3.6 miles away); The D.D. Collins House (approx. 3.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Collinsville.
Also see . . . Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (Submitted on December 27, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.)
Categories. • Man-Made Features • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers •
More. Search the internet for Monks Mound.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 27, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 564 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 26, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on December 27, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.