On June 2nd and 3rd, we had an Archaeology field trip to see Cahokia Mounds, the Museum of Westward Expansion, the Saint Louis Arch, and the Lewis and Clark Memorial State Park.
Cahokia Mounds offers a World-Class Interpretive Center with museum exhibit galleries, an orientation show theater, a museum shop and a courtyard for educational programs. Outdoors you'll find self-guided tours, guided tours, trails and Monks Mound, the largest earthwork in North America.
After viewing the orientation video in the Interpretive Center, we walked around looking at exhibits which explained how the people lived and what tools that they used. The exhibits were great and the artifacts were numerous. I could have easily spent a couple of more hours with the exhibits, but we had to move on to the guided tour of Monks Mound. Its base covers 14 acres and it rises to a height of 100 feet with an estimated 22 million cubic feet of earth.
One informational board in the Interpretive Center stated that it would take a classroom of 30 students, each filling 8 baskets a day (each basket containing 50 to 60 pounds of dirt), 167 years to fill Monks Mound. Dave, our tour guide, was not only very knowledgeable, but also grew up in the area and gave us his insights in how the area looked when he was young and how it changed from what we see today.
The fieldtrip participants from the left are Floyd Rogers, Bryan Nugent, Lexie and Ryan Kiamco, Betsy Rogers, Vickie Kiamco, and John Spanik.
They are standing outside the Interpretive Center in front of the Cahokia Mounds logo which is an image of the Birdman Tablet. The Birdman Tablet was found in the Monks Mound area and dates back to 1300 A.D.
Noteworthy -- We had an excellent dinner at Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant in Collinsville, IL. Food and drinks were moderately priced.
We spent a short time at the Museum of Westward Expansion right before entering the Saint Louis Arch tram. The Museum of Westward Expansion highlights the people, places and events of the American west during the 1800s through an extensive collection of artifacts, mounted animal specimens and an overview of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Next we went up to the top of the St. Louis Arch. The view from the top of the arch is breathtaking, but the area for viewing is cramped so we didn’t spend much time there.
On June 3rd we visited the Lewis and Clark Memorial State Park. This is where Lewis and Clark began their journey to the Pacific back in 1804. This museum also has an excellent introductory video that you view before seeing the exhibits. One of the exhibits is a large replica of their ship cut lengthwise so that you can see how they stored equipment and supplies.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is located in Collinsville, Illinois off Interstates 55/70 and 255. Cahokia Mounds is just fifteen minutes east of St. Louis, Missouri.
30 Ramey Street
Collinsville, IL 62234
Lewis and Clark Memorial State Park is located about 3 miles north of I-270 on Route 3 (just east of the Mississippi River in Illinois).
Pictures supplied by Floyd and Betsy Rogers and Bryan Nugent