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Cahokia is the site of an ancient Native American city (650-1400 CE) near Collinsville, Illinois in the American Bottom floodplain, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The 2,200-acre (8.9 km2) site includes at least 109 man-made earthen mounds. Cahokia Mounds is the largest archaeological site related to the Mississippian culture, which developed advanced societies in eastern North America centuries before the arrival of Europeans. It is a designated site for state protection, a National Historic Landmark, and a World Heritage Site. It is the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas. Cahokia was settled around 650 CE during the Late Woodland period. Mound building did not begin until about 1050 CE, at the beginning of the Mississippian cultural period. The inhabitants left no written records beyond symbols on pottery, shell, copper, wood, and stone. The city's original name is unknown. The original site contained 120 earthen mounds over an area of six square miles, although only 80 survive today. To achieve that, workers moved more than an "estimated 55 million cubic feet of earth in woven baskets to create this network of mounds and community plazas. Monks Mound, for example, covers 14 acres, rises 100 feet, and was topped by a massive 5,000 square-foot building another 50 feet high." The name "Cahokia" also refers to an unrelated clan of historic Illiniwek people living in the area when the first French explorers arrived in the 1600s, long after Cahokia was abandoned by its original inhabitants. The living descendants of the Cahokia people associated with the Mound site are unknown, although many Native American groups are plausible.


 

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