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The Saint Louis Front Page is owned and maintained by the Moore Design Group for the sole purpose of disseminating news and information about the Metropolitan Saint Louis area. Doctoral candidate Tim Schilling (left), freshman Grace Niswander and archaeologist and lecturer John Kelly, PhD, work to re-map an earlier excavation of Mound 34 at Cahokia Mounds. According to Kelly, outside of burial mounds, some precipitating event probably took place in the life of an individual or a building for it eventually to be removed and buried under earth, and then made into a raised platform — a mound — upon which a new building could be erected. Burned soil and residue from fire indicate the building had a hearth in the middle, and residue from copper suggests a workshop to the side. Strangely, similar shell cups were found at a site in eastern Oklahoma, which dates to a period shortly after the demise of the Cahokia society. Doctoral candidate Tim Schilling focuses on the mysteries of Monks Mound — the stately mound west of Mound 34.
According to Schilling, the native people believed they existed in a universe including an Above World and a Below World, where humans lived at the intersection of these two. Other structures at Cahokia Mounds also reveal a strong belief in the connection between the heavens and Earth. West of Woodhenge and beyond the borders of Cahokia Mounds, researchers have found evidence of other mound societies in East St. Kelly hopes to introduce his students not only to the society that reigned at Cahokia Mounds, but also to what it was like to travel between the communities to the west. On Becoming a ScholarWashington University undergraduate students carry out significant research and, as a result, earn prestigious awards and scholarships.
Back to the Future: Realizing a Vision Faculty, students and alumni build on Eero Saarinen’s idea of a unified waterfront — one where the Gateway Arch joins with the rest of the city, the river and surrounding areas. A Writer’s Life: Real, but Unlikely After many years, alumni novelists Adam Ross and John Brandon find their voices, and much-awaited recognition.


Text or graphics may not be copied, rewritten or distributed in any manner whatsoever without written permission. Louis, university faculty, students and alumni explore Cahokia Mounds — the remains of the most sophisticated pre-Columbian native civilization north of Mexico and now a World Heritage Site. Yet just beyond the earthen lip to your right, under what was formerly Mound 34, an instructor and two students work diligently some 4 to 5 feet below the ground’s surface. Louis, Cahokia Mounds beckons visitors to explore its wonders and to mull over the prospect of a once-thriving city and native society.
Evidence also suggests that the building hosted a particular group, a sodality, focused on a particular mission or purpose — in this case, probably hunting or warfare. He thinks the pole at the top of Monks Mound would have connected the multiple worlds of the ancient Cahokians. To this end, early in the fall semester, he and students from his freshman seminar walk the six miles from East St. Louis, north of the Arch where a mound group was, join the trailhead of the Riverfront Trail, go across the Eads Bridge through East St. Louis, university faculty, students and alumni explore Cahokia Mounds — the remains of the most sophisticated pre-Columbian civilization north of Mexico. In a pit, approximately 40 by 40 feet, archaeologist John Kelly, PhD, doctoral candidate Tim Schilling and freshman Grace Niswander quietly wield metal trowels and sift through layers of dirt. The society’s disappearance some 600 years ago, due to a combination of climate changes and geopolitical dynamics, also leaves much for students of history to ponder. During previous excavations in 1950 and 1956, researchers found marine shells, shark’s teeth and arrow points, numerous animal bones, as well as serving vessels — all part of hunting and warfare rituals. Since the Mound Builders kept no written records, researchers of these areas often find more questions than concrete answers.


One function of Woodhenge may have been to mark astronomical events, such as solstices and equinoxes. The site includes an Interpretive Center, which features a recreated village and a 3-D model of the current site. Their deliberate movements yield small progress, but their patient hands continue the search.
In 1965, the site received National Historic Landmark status and in 1982 a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. And Washington University students, faculty and alumni have been doing so — conducting research at Cahokia and its satellite towns, villages and farmsteads — for decades. Solar alignments observed at Woodhenge, which is constructed of timber logs, can predict the changing of the seasons. Another leg extends south past the Anheuser-Busch brewery to the Sugar Loaf Mound (located along I-55), which was recently purchased by the Osage nation. At the same time, Woodhenge, one of four or five such structures found at Cahokia Mounds, may have served to channel the power of the heavens to important rituals that took place at the site. Turning south, another well-used road unceremoniously slices through the middle of a vast expanse of land.



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